The light snow we experienced on Monday was just a warm up for what will be a significant snow event on Wednesday. The snow Monday inched a bit further north than originally thought and as a result we had a little more than just flurries in the area. This time around there is no doubt we are going to get snow and lots of it as upwards of a foot may be realized for some areas before all is said and done.
Low pressure moved out of the western Gulf of Mexico today and will track through the Appalachians tonight as a coastal low develops off the coast to our south. This secondary center will become the main focus for our weather through Wednesday. The low should be centered off the Delaware coast Wednesday morning and move northeastward to be positioned southeast of Nova Scotia by late evening. With high pressure to our north and colder air in place there is little doubt this will be a snow event and a significant one for the entire Pioneer Valley. There is a chance that a mix to sleet and freezing rain may occur for a time across the southern tier of the valley, generally south of the turnpike.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area that will be in effect from midnight until 6 pm Wednesday evening as winter weather returns in a big way throughout the region. The weather service is predicting a widespread 8 to 12 inches of snow with a few isolated pockets of 14 inch totals possible to the north. Generally, most of the media weather outlets are forecasting a widespread 6 to 12 inches of snow in our area. Areas north of Springfield have the best chance for approaching a foot of snow. The lesser amounts would be where any mix to sleet and or freezing rain occurs across the southern valley. Also, this will not be the light fluffy snow we have experienced in the other storms this year. Expect a heavier wetter snow and that will make for more difficultly plowing, shoveling and snowblowing the white stuff.
The onset of snow occurs after midnight. By the morning commute two or three inches may already have accumulated as the snow quickly becomes heavier during the commute. The snow will continue all day, heavy at times into the early afternoon before it tapers off late day and ends Wednesday night. Snow could fall at an inch or more per hour for a few hours during the morning. As a result expect treacherous travel conditions, flight and rail delays or cancellations and a very slow ride to work. Overall, a disruptive day for travel. Many school districts will likely cancel classes for the day as some have already begun to announce closings this evening.
Once the storm moves on out we can expect fair conditions and below normal temperatures Thursday and Friday. Both days the highs will struggle to reach 30 degrees with the overnight lows tumbling to around 10 degrees.
72 Hour Outlook:
Tuesday night: Becoming cloudy. Snow developing well after midnight. Cold, lows in the low to mid 20s. Light east winds.
Wednesday: Snow, heavy at times in the morning and cold. Snow may mix with sleet and freezing rain for a time south of the pike. Highs in the upper 20s to low 30s. Northeast winds increasing to 10 to 20 mph.
Wednesday night: Snow tapers off early and ends. Lows in the mid to upper teens. Winds backing to north then northwest around 10 mph.
Thursday and Thursday night: Fair weather. Cold, highs in the mid to upper 20s. Overnight lows near 10 degrees. Light winds.
Friday: A mix of clouds and sun. Cold. Highs around 25.