Archive for January 2018

Special Weather Advisory from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency

DATE: January 22, 2018

TIME: 9:00 AM

SUBJECT: Icing Threat, Heavy Rainfall and Strong Winds



The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Eastern Franklin, Western Franklin, Western Hampshire, Northern Worcester and Northwest Middlesex counties for forecasted areas of freezing rain. The Weather Advisory is in effect from 3 pm this afternoon to 9 am Tuesday morning. Spotty light wintry precipitation is expected which will transition to areas of freezing rain later today, continuing tonight into Tuesday morning. The greatest risk of icing will be over the higher elevations. The ice will result in hazardous travel conditions, including during today’s evening commute and tomorrow’s morning commute. Total ice accumulations up to 1/10 of an inch are expected over the higher elevations, but locally 1/10 to 2/10 of an inch over the higher elevations in Northern Worcester County. Any freezing rain will change to rain by mid-morning Tuesday as temperatures rise above freezing.

A brief period of southerly wind gusts up to 50 mph is possible Tuesday afternoon across Southeast Massachusetts. Isolated power outages possible. An estimated 6-hour period of heavy rainfall is likely Tuesday, moving west to east across southern New England. Rainfall will average 0.75 to 1.5 inches. Widespread river flooding is not expected, but some lingering ice jam flooding is possible as the new rainfall causes ice upstream to move. Some minor poor drainage and urban flooding is possible.


* Ice accretion up to one tenth of an inch, especially over higher elevations. Locally one to two tenths of an inch possible over higher elevations in northern Worcester county

* There is also a risk of light icing tonight into early Tuesday along the I-495 belt from Lowell and Lawrence north to the I-495/I-95 interchange.

* Hazardous travel conditions; today’s evening commute and the Tuesday morning commute will likely be impacted.

Please note the ice potential for Lawrence and Lowell Areas.

Stay safe,

James Richardson, Program Manager



DATE: January 16, 2018
TIME: 5:00 PM
SUBJECT: Moderate Snow Tonight into Wednesday (Update #1)

Since this morning’s Situational Awareness Statement, the National Weather Service has downgraded the Winter Storm Warning for portions of eastern Massachusetts, including greater Boston and the Boston-Providence corridor, to a Winter Weather Advisory. The Winter Weather Advisory previously in effect for portions of southeastern Massachusetts has been cancelled. (See the graphic below.)

Light snow will overspread the entire region before dawn tomorrow morning. In central and western Massachusetts, the heaviest snowfall is forecast to occur between 4 and 10 AM. In eastern Massachusetts, the heaviest snow will fall between 7 and 9 AM before transitioning to a wintry mix and then to all rain by 11 AM in the greater Boston area and to the south of the Boston to Providence corridor. Snow and rain will taper off across the region Wednesday afternoon.

Total snowfall accumulations are forecast to be a widespread 5-9 inches in western and central Massachusetts and portions of the northeast, with locally higher amounts possible in far western Massachusetts. Only 1-4 inches of snow is forecast for coastal areas of the northeast and in and to the south of the greater Boston area due to the expected changeover to rain Wednesday morning.


* Snowfall is expected to result in reduced visibility and hazardous travel on snow-covered roads, particularly during the Wednesday morning commute.

Remember to leave plenty of space between you and the vehicles in front of you this morning.

Stay safe out there!!

James Richardson, Program Manager



Multi-Impact Rain/Flooding/Icing Event Friday/Saturday 


The NWS has forecast multi-impact rain event to occur Friday into Saturday. Several bouts of heavy rain are expected to move into the region starting Friday morning and continuing into Saturday morning. Storm total rainfall amounts of 1.5 to 3 inches with locally higher amounts of up to 4 inches are forecast over the entire region. Strong 45-55 mph wind gusts could develop late Friday into early Saturday, especially across the southeast coastal plain of Massachusetts. There may be periods of dense fog on Friday morning and again Friday evening into Saturday.

As the heavier rain ends Saturday morning, temperatures will begin to drop from west to east, and they will rapidly dip below freezing during the afternoon and evening on Saturday, potentially resulting in flash-freezing. Any remaining precipitation will change over to freezing rain/drizzle before ending altogether by Saturday evening, with resulting ice accretions of up to 1/10” to 1/4″ possible.

Some areas of uncertainty still remain in the forecast:

  • Flooding potential is still being fine-tuned. Depending on how much rain falls, more rivers may go into flood stage.
  • There is still a lot of uncertainty on where exactly the dense fog will set up Friday and Saturday.
  • Ice accretion amounts could change depending on how quickly the cold air moves into the region on Saturday.


  • The heavy rain and associated flooding has the potential to impact the Friday evening commute.
  • Rainfall combined with rapid snowmelt may result in some river and stream flooding. Smaller streams and creeks are forecast to crest Friday night or early Saturday and larger streams may crest later Saturday into early Sunday.
  • Scattered ice jams are possible on rivers and streams. Where an ice jam forms, flooding may occur first above the location of the jam, and then as it breaks up, the rapid release of water may cause flooding below the jam.
  • Snow-clogged storm drains may result in significant urban/street flooding and flooding of low-lying/poor drainage areas.
  • Areas of dense fog may result in poor visibility and hazardous travel conditions.
  • As the temperatures fall across the region on Saturday, black ice may develop and any ice jams on rivers may freeze in place. This may cause hazardous travel conditions, especially on untreated roadways, as well as extended river flooding.
  • Strong wind gusts Friday night into Saturday may result in a few downed limbs or small trees and isolated power outages.


January 10, 2018

5:45 PM

Potential for Heavy Rain and Flooding Friday/Saturday


From the National Weather Service:

“We have a multi-faceted event coming up for Friday and through the weekend, including the potential for heavy rainfall and mild temperatures that could cause flooding, as well as freezing rain/sleet and black ice toward the end of this event.

Milder temperatures will move into the region on increasing southwest winds Thursday and Friday, potentially reaching the 50s to near 60 on Friday.  Heavy rainfall, with forecast amounts of 2 to as much as 4 inches, along with snow quickly melting and snow clogged storm drains, may cause flooding in poor drainage areas.

There is also the potential for river ice to break across some rivers and streams, causing ice jams to form which may cause flooding especially along low lying areas.

As the precipitation starts to end late Saturday and Saturday night, temperatures will quickly fall below freezing. This may cause the precipitation to change over to sleet and/or freezing rain before ending towards Sunday morning. While light icing is expected across north central and northwest Massachusetts, there could be slippery roadways during Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Also, as the temperatures fall across the region, black ice will develop and any ice jams may freeze Saturday night and Sunday. This may cause hazardous travel conditions as well as extended river flooding.

For now, due to the heavy rainfall and flood potential, we have issued a Flood Watch for the region from Friday morning through Saturday afternoon. As the event progresses, more winter and flood headlines may be needed.”

Stay safe everyone!

James Richardson, Program Manager



January 9, 2018

3:00 PM

Potential Heavy Rain and Flooding Friday/Saturday Situation From the National Weather Service:

The NWS is monitoring the potential for flooding of urban areas, and possibly rivers and small streams, Friday into Saturday from the combination of heavy rain (2-4 inches) and melting snow.

The NWS is most confident in at least minor flooding of urban and poor drainage areas, and less so for flooding of rivers and streams.


*        Heavy Rain (potentially as much as 2 to 4 inches)

*        Potential Flooding (rivers/streams and urban/poor drainage areas)


*        All of southern New England


*        Friday into Saturday, although river flooding (if it occurs) could last through the weekend.


Since the storm is still a few days away, there is a lot of uncertainty. Here are the questions that the NWS will address over the next day or two:

*        Where does the heaviest rain (more than 3 inches) fall? While this is currently expected on Cape Cod and the Islands, this may change over the next few days.

*        How warm does it get, and for how long? Temperatures will rise into the 40s and 50s Friday, but how long they remain that warm will affect the amount of snow melt and runoff into rivers, streams, and catch basins.

*        How much will rivers and streams flood?  While the NWS is more confident in flooding of urban and poor drainage areas, the amount of combined rain and melting snow, and possibly river ice breakup, will determine the extent of river and small stream flooding.