Thursday January 02, 2014 | 07:31 AM
Posted by David Epstein

 The upcoming snowstorm is going to bring snow, wind, possible coastal flooding and very cold temperatures.  Of all of these variables for me, the cold and wind will be the most notable.

Maine folks are hardy souls and it takes more than a moderate storm to slow us down.  However, we have just had two back to back months of very cold weather and the upcoming storm will occur with temperatures about as cold as I have ever seen with a snowstorm. All of this after several snow events and an ice storm.  Thus far, this is turning out to be quite a winter.

The saying it’s too cold to snow, won’t apply Thursday night and early Friday. Temperatures for much of this storm will be in the single numbers and this will create a snow that is as light as you will ever see in this part of the world.  You should be able to actually use a push broom to move the snow if you would like.

How much snow?

There will be a very sharp cut-off from the heavy snow to lighter snow as you move north and west from the coastlines of York and Cumberland Counties.  Once you get north of the capitol district there will be very little snow at all. You can see what I am predicting below.  If the storm moves further out to see I will need to modify these numbers further.


How much snow today and how much overnight?

There are two seperate systems, each with snow to affect Maine during the next 24 hours.  The first batch of snow is coming from the west and has overspread the area this morning.  Additionally, some ocean enhanced snow is going to occur. There will be 2-5 inches of snow that falls today, with another 4-10 inches overnight.  The reason I have a huge range is those numbers cover the area from York to Augusta.  

The heaviest snow will occur from Brusnwick to York.  The further towards the mountains you move, the less snow there will be from this event.

Where is the storm now?

The map below shows the current situation.  Notice the bit of snow around the Portland area. Some of this is being enhanced from the cold air rushing over the open ocean water.  This will continue to be the trend today.   Situations like this can lead to isolated pockets of very heavy snow totals and I will be watching where the ocean effect snow sets up and continues today.


How about the wind and power outages?

The wind will be blustery and reach gusts over 35 miles per hour, mostly along the coast.  These speeds alone are not enough to cause power issues. Because the snow will be so light, it’s not going to stick to the wires, so I am not concerned about the power.  Of course, there is always the possibility in any storm of isolated power outages.

How about the coastal flooding threat?

There are two high tides, midnight and noon on Friday the storm will affect.  I expect the main impacts to be splash-over, some road closures and beach erosion.   The storm will like produce widespread minor flooding, scattered moderate coastal flooding and no major coastal flooding.

How will air travel be affected by the nor’easter?

The snow is not only occurring in New England, but south and west as well. This is impacting flights in and out of our local airports and will continue to do so through midday Friday.   When the lull in the snow occurs Thursday, there will likely be more flight activity.  The wind and snow will make travel in an out of the Jetport slower than usual. Additionally travel from both Logan and T.F. Green in Rhode Island will be difficult overnight Thursday and Friday

When will you update again? I will do another big update early in the morning. I will give regular frequent updates throughout the storm. I update often on Twitter @growingwisdom. Feel free to chat with me there.

Will the kids have school Thursday and Friday?

There are numerous delays and closings already.  Listen to your favorite source for these announcements. 

How cold will it be during the storm?

Temperatures are going to remain very cold through Saturday morning.  I expect highs today to remain in the single numbers, but fall a few degrees more tonight and stay no warmer than 5 or 10 much of Friday.  If you have issues with pipes freezing in cold weather you should do whatever you normally do to prevent that from occurring.  If you leave your water dripping slowly, the movement of the water won’t allow it to freeze.  It’s worth the money considering the alternative.

The wind is going to make it feel even colder than the actual temperature readings.  Some towns will see wind chills reach to 20 to 30 below zero and there could be a wind chill advisory or warning issued for the cold.  This is not typical even by Maine standards.

So overall how bad will this storm be?

The storm itself is actually going to remain quite far away so it won’t be a blockbuster snowstorm. Everyone has different criteria for how they judge these storms.  Overall, this will be a typical January nor’easter.  The long duration will make it difficult if you don’t like driving in snow, because there will be so many hours of snow on the roads.  The length of time it will take the snow to occur and the light weight will make it easy to clear.  The lack of widespread moderate or major coastal flooding won’t make this storm memorable for coastal folks.   I think one of the more notable aspects of the storm will be how much snow falls at such cold temperatures.  It’s not often we see significant snow with temperatures so cold, I am really interested to see just how dry the snow actually is especially at the end of the storm, when it’s the coldest.

Indoor Flowers You Can Grow Easily Indoor flowers are a great way to chase away some of those winter doldrums. Check out this week's video on these wonderful indoor bulbs known as amaryllis.

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About the Author

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, 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.

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