Saturday, March 8, 2014
Snow and wind continue for a few more hours this morning, but will be winding down. The cold is going to be dangerous all day and there is a wind chill warning in effect for the area until early afternoon. At times the wind chill will fall to 30 below or more and this can create a situation where frost bite occurs in less than a few minutes. It’s a good idea to take breaks between shoveling and be sure to cover all your exposed skin if possible. Wearing a ski mask is certainly appropriate on a day like today.
If you want an idea just how cold this air mass is, climb up to the top of Mount Washington this morning. The wind chill there was actually a few degrees warmer than many of the cities and towns in Maine. We don’t see that kind of backwards weather very much.
Accumulating snow will end from west to east this morning. Portland could see another inch or two, but the bulk of the accumulating snow is now over. The blizzard warning was dropped overnight as blizzard conditions didn’t last the required three hours or longer. Most areas across coastal York and Cumberland Counties have seen 8 or more inches of snow. Westbrook has seen about 11 inches thus far. The radar below shows the snow begining to pull away. It's still accumulating in greater Portland as I write this around 6:30AM. I'll bw updating the progress of the storm on Twitter @growingwisdom, If you have any snow totals, please tweet me there.
The wind will continue all day, blowing and drifting the snow. Roads will slowly improve this morning and if you are headed to work, the commute will be light, but quite slow. By the evening commute I am expecting primary roads to be down to bare pavement, but secondary roads, especially in those areas hardest hit by the storm, will have still have snow and slush on them.
A bitter night is ahead with most of the area seeing temperatures well below zero. Portland will fall to between 10 and 13 below zero for one of the colder nights in years. The record for today is 16 below zero set back in 1957. The record tomorrow is -18, set in 1981 and I don’t see that record in jeopardy.
Saturday turns milder after the cold start. Highs later in the afternoon reach the low 20s and with less wind it won’t feel nearly as uncomfortable as today and tonight.
A storm moves in for Sunday night and by Monday highs reach the upper 30s to near 40. It’s just a one day January thaw however, arctic cold returns for Tuesday. As the storm begins Sunday night, there will be enough cold air left at the ground to create sleet or freezing rain situation. I am not expecting a major ice storm at this time, but there will be enough precipitation to cause icy roads and travel will be slowed Monday morning, especially away from the immediate coast.
Our storm which brought all the snow and wind is moving eastward this morning. As the storm pulls away it will take the heavy snow with it, leaving a bitter cold arctic air mass in its wake. High pressure returns for Saturday and the first part of Sunday eventually bringing milder air. As the high departs Sunday afternoon, a new, but warmer storm moves in for Sunday night and early Monday.Tweet
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.