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First Warning

Major winter storm keeps western MA on edge


A major winter storm with blizzard conditions is pounding the mid-Atlantic and Appalachians and will likely bring blizzard conditions to coastal CT as well, while here in western MA we are literally on the edge. A jog or wobble in this massive storm could mean the difference between a dusting and something to shovel. the National Weather Service has posted a blizzard warning for Saturday night for coastal CT.

The bulk of the snowfall in New England will fall to our south through especially southern CT, RI, and Cape Cod. Right now, the "window of opportunity" for our local snowfall is mainly tomorrow mid-late afternoon through 10 pm. We are still expecting light amounts for some areas of the Pioneer Valley.  A secondary, but more important story is the wind that will gust over 50 from Cape Cod to Block Island (the closest coastal communities to the storm center) during an astronomical high tide. Coastal flooding and erosion are concerns there.

Something that hasn't changed at all in the last few days is the sharp cut-off between those who get plowable snow and those who miss the storm with not a flake to show for it. The battle will be on here in the valley tomorrow afternoon as the very dry air to the north, remaining in place, thwarts the storm from dumping those snowflakes on us.

We're expecting a dusting to an inch of accumulation near Springfield with nothing falling in Franklin County and northern Berkshire County. Snowfall amounts will build as you move south into Connecticut. All of southern New England will be on the fence and this will be a storm to now-cast. That means the forecasting is just about done. We'll watch the storm evolve hour by hour and compare it to our forecast and then predict the short-term results based on good 'ol observation and computer model checks.

In any case, this massive storm, with the exception of the east coast and Cape due to some damaging wind, will be done here on Sunday at sunrise as we awaken to sunshine.

Here are the latest take-aways:

  • Timing: Saturday afternoon - evening (2 pm- 10pm) but it will not necessarily snow the entire time. The snow will likely have a hard time moving much past the Mt. Holyoke range.
  • Precipitation: All snow (fluffy)
  • Amounts: A dusting - 2"
  • Wind: NNE: 20-35 mph.

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