Good sized March Nor'easter on the way

12:30 PM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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Percentage of Mainers who commented "Bring it on!" on snowfall maps I posted to Facebook in January/February: 75%

Percentage of Mainers who commented "Bring it on!" on a similar map I posted today, March 18th: 10%. 

(Of which 8% were die hard skiers ((I get it. I am truly happy for them..I bet they'll be skiing into May this year)) and the other 2% just take pride in being tough guys.)

Today: Mostly sunny but chilly. It tells you something about how cold this airmass is that we are dealing with almost full sunshine, in March when the sun angle is relatively strong, and we are STILL struggling to break 32 F in most spots.

Tonight: Clouds increase from southwest to northeast through the evening such that Bangor and all points south are cloudy by the early morning. Meanwhile Millinocket to Caribou will remain partly cloudy and won't totally cloud up until Tuesday morning. Snow will begin to develop over York and Cumberland counties in the early morning hours, say 3-4 AM. At the onset the bands of snow will hit a dry airmass and evaporate, but once the air column saturates I expect a pretty good thump of snow through the 5-6 AM time period and into the morning commute.


Timing: Snow begins over southernmost Maine during the early morning hours on Tuesday (3-4 AM) and pushes northeastward into the Midcoast by late morning, reaches Bangor around 2-3 PM and doesn't arrive Downeast until late afternoon/early evening. The storm then wraps up first across southern Maine by early Wednesday morning, lingering in the Midcoast until late morning and finally moving out of Downeast and northern Maine by 3-4 PM Wednesday. So one way or another most of us are looking at a 24 hour snow event.

Amounts: I've made a map of course but there aren't TOO many zones on it really. The vast majority of the state, from the interior to the mountains will end up with 10-16" of snow. Along the immediate coastline I've taken that number down to 8-12." There won't be MUCH mixing due to the coastal low taking over early in the event, but I do think there will still be some sleet/rain mixing in through Tuesday afternoon right along the shore...that should be good enough to knock off a few inches of total snowfall. I've also tapered from 10-16" down to 8-12" over northern Maine because it will be just a bit too far away from the core of the storm itself.

Period of Heaviest Snow:

Southern/Western Maine: Late Tuesday afternoon/early Tuesday night

Central Maine/Midcoast: Overnight Tuesday night.

Downeast and Northern Maine: Early morning Wednesday.

My only forecast concern: I'm not that concerned about warm air and mixing anymore...I'm more focused on potential dry slot formation. Indications are strong that dry air wraps into the system during the day on Tuesday, slowing down snowfall rates and maybe even shutting off the snow for a period Tuesday around noon. It appears as though a strong shortwave will merge with the low by the late afternoon and be juicy enough to bring the snow back with a vengeance through the evening. Still, if there's one thing that could hold back's the dreaded dry slot. I'll continue to watch it for you.

Other Notes: 1) The snow will NOT be cement heavy in most spots. Temperatures stay pretty cold through the event inland and into the mountains so the snow should be reasonable to plow and not super clingy to trees (Don't you just hate super clingy snow? "I think it's time for us to see other are suffocating me"). Along the coast it will be heavier, but that should be a relatively narrow area of dense snow. 2) Winds won't be too strong either. Gusts up to 35-40 MPH are possible Tuesday night..but as far as a Nor'easter goes, that's childsplay.

Conditions look partly sunny, breezy and cool for Thursday and Friday with no big warm up in sight.

In fact, there's a chance for some more snow Thursday night...but that's far from a lock right now.

Sorry. Or you're welcome....depending.

Twitter: @KeithCarsonWCSH






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