MEMA Situational Awareness Statement: Upcoming Winter Storm Wednesday/Thursday (Update #2) Situation

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DATE: March 6, 2018

TIME: 9:30 AM

SUBJECT: Upcoming Winter Storm Wednesday/Thursday (Update #2) Situation

The National Weather Service is forecasting another coastal storm to bring rain, snow, and gusty winds to New England starting Wednesday morning and continuing into Thursday.

Rain/Snow:

  • Forecast snowfall totals have increased since yesterday.
  • Precipitation is forecast to overspread the state from west to east late Wednesday morning, reaching Worcester by noon and the Outer Cape by 2:00 PM, and continuing through Wednesday night before tapering off during the morning commute on Thursday. The most significant commuting impact will be during the Wednesday evening commute and possibly lingering into the Thursday morning commute.
  • Precipitation will fall as all snow over much of central and western Massachusetts and as all rain with possibly some wet snow at the beginning in the Cape and Islands. In eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, snow may change over to rain sometime Wednesday afternoon or evening, and possibly back to snow for a time Thursday morning as the storm departs the New England region. Snowfall will be wet and heavy.
  • Snow may fall at a rate of as much as 1-3 inches per hour at the peak of the storm Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night.
  • Snowfall totals could reach 18-24 inches on the eastern slopes of the Berkshires and the Worcester Hills, 12-18 inches in much of the rest of western and central Massachusetts, 6-12 inches in northeastern Massachusetts and the Boston-Providence corridor, and 3-6 inches over Cape Ann and southeastern Massachusetts. The Cape and Islands will see little if any snowfall accumulation.

Winds:

  •  30-40 MPH wind gusts in the interior and 50-60 MPH gusts over the immediate coast are forecast, with the strongest winds occurring Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Coastal Flooding:

  • There may be minor to moderate coastal flood and erosion impacts for the early Thursday morning high tide (generally 3:30 AM to 4:30 AM along the MA east coast). Fortunately, the astronomical high tides will be much lower than they were for the last storm and that will help mitigate potential impacts. Also, this storm should be progressive enough to just impact one high tide cycle.
  • In spite of relatively low astronomical high tides, the surge and wave action from this storm may be enough to produce moderate coastal flooding and beach erosion for the Thursday early morning high tide along the Massachusetts east coast from Salisbury along the New Hampshire border to Cape Ann, including the Plum Island area. Along this reach of coastline, we may experience a storm surge of 2.5 to 3 feet and large waves of 20 to 25 feet approaching the shoreline.  And the expected surge and wave action will be coupled with a more vulnerable coastline.
  • Elsewhere along the Massachusetts east coast, we anticipate a potential storm surge of 2 to 2.5 feet and waves a little offshore of around 20 feet. This may produce minor coastal flooding and some beach erosion along the ocean exposed coastline from Hull to Plymouth as well as the north and northeast facing shorelines of Cape Cod and Nantucket. Storm surge of around 2.5 to 3 feet and 15-20 foot waves just offshore are forecast.

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