Wednesday, April 23, 2014
A winter storm warning is up for the area into Sunday morning for heavy amounts of snow. Snow begining to overspread much of southern Maine and although it is light, the snow will become increasingly heavy especially after 10PM.
I'll be updating the snow forecast as it changes on Twitter at @growingwisdom Please follow me there. Feel free to comment or ask questions too.
Our storm continues to take shape along the mid-Atlantic coast will and move rapidly northeast pushing through the Gulf of Maine Sunday. The forecast hinges on the warm air staying off the coast and if we do see some mixing, which is possible, I believe it will occur after 90% of the precipitation has fallen in the form of light powdery snow.
Temperatures are very cold in the arctic air. Our highs today remained in the teens and will stay there much of the overnight hours. Across southern York and coastal Cumberland Couties I expect temperature to rise in the pre-dawn hours into the 20s. Some of the island communities could see readings approach freezing around sunrise.
I continue to say if you are hosting a party or attending an event tonight don't cancel. Just know you likely will be driving in snow on the way home. Perhaps leave early or move up the start time a bit. Living in New England, I don't feel we should cancel events every time there is a few inches of snow. Of course, do whatever is the right thing for you.
When does it really start?
The bulk of the storm arrives after 10PM as the snow becomes heavier and steadier. After midnight some areas will see snowfall rates around 1 inch per hour as the heaviest of the snow moves through the region. There could even be some towns where snowfall rates approach 2 or 3 inches per hour in the early morning hours of Sunday. Those types of snowfall intensities are very difficult in which to drive. If you don't have to be out early Sunday morning, wait until the storm is over.
Will it be fluffy snow?
With temperatures so cold the amount of moisture in the snow will be low, but it will be so light and fluffy it will easily pile up. This is a bit of the unknown in this storm. If the ratio of water in the snow to the snow itself is 20 to 1 some areas will push towards a foot and a half of snow. It will be a bit deceiving like a bag of chips that looks really full, but is just all puffed up. If there is not any sleet mixing into the event, whatever falls will settle 2-5 inches during the day tomorrow. It's going to be that light and airy. This isn't to say an 18 inch total won't be real, it will just be some of the easiest 18 inches of snow you have ever moved.
How much snow?
The map below shows the general numbers I expect from this storm. Things that could impact these totals somewhat are a faster moving storm, (lower totals) or a warmer storm with mixing (lower totals at the immediate coast). I will be watching for any of these changes throughout the evening and updating the blog as necessary. The most likely spots to see some sleet will be York, Kittery, Kennebunk then up to Rockland, Camden and Mt. Desert Island area.
How long does it last?
The storm ends during the first part of the morning over southern Maine and by noon across central areas and around Augusta and Waterville. Check out the projected radar map below for Sunday morning. You can see the precipitation has ended to the south, the rain is off the coast and it's snowing 1-3 inches per hour in far northern areas of the state.
Cold and dry weather resumes for Monday with arctic air present Tuesday when it will be very cold and a few snow shower could occur. I don't see any significant snowstorms for the rest of the week after tomorrow. Enjoy the skiing if you are headed up to the mountains. Most ski areas will see 6-12 inches of very fluffy snow. Actually, perhaps even too fluffy for a good base, but it will be fun to ski on.
Weekend garden tip
The video is from a few years back, but the tips on caring for a living Christmas tree are the same. Enjoy.
David Epstein has been a meteorologist for more than 25 years. He spent 16 years in Boston and currently freelances at WGME13 in Portland.
In 2006, David founded GrowingWisdom.com, a business producing educational and marketing videos for the green industry. He currently is a professor at Framingham State College, teaches Jan Plan at Colby College and owns Bloomscapes Inc., a landscape design business.
David authored "Gardens Of New England" and his work has been published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. He lives in South Natick, Mass., and has a summer home in Harpswell.