Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Boston, MA

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FXUS61 KBOX 231508

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Taunton MA
1008 AM EST Mon Jan 23 2017

Moist onshore winds will result in rain and snow showers today,
but some sleet and even patchy freezing drizzle will be possible
across interior northern Massachusetts. A significant storm will
impact the region tonight into Tuesday, resulting in a wide
variety of weather from snow and/or ice across the interior, a
period of strong to damaging wind gusts along with heavy rain
along the coastal plain. High pressure builds in behind the
departing storm and brings dry mild weather Wednesday and
Thursday. A cold front crosses New England Thursday followed by
seasonably cool temperatures and blustery winds.



10 AM update...

Strengthening low level ENE jet resulting in numerous rain and
snow showers across much of the region this morning. This is
despite strong mid level subsidence from high amplitude upper
level ridge over New England. This subsidence has resulted in some
breaks in the overcast from time to time. However as low level jet
continues to increase today low level moisture will win out and
continue to result in numerous rain/snow showers. However with
temps above freezing any light snow accumulations will be confined
to non-paved surfaces. The exception will be across the high
terrain where temps near freezing may result in a coating of
snowfall especially on secondary roads. Still could see some
freezing rain/drizzle at times across the high terrain as mid
level dry air advects into the snow growth region from time to
time today.

Otherwise expect a windy day especially along the coast with ENE
winds increasing up to 45-50 mph...35 to 40 mph elsewhere. These
strong winds off the ocean combined with cool temps in the mid to
upper 30s to perhaps low 40s over Cape Cod and the islands will
provide a damp/raw feel today.

Previous forecast captures these details nicely so no major
changes to the forecast with this update.


Previous Discussion...

Large high pressure across eastern Canada will combined with low
pressure slowly lifting northeast into the North Carolina/Southern
Virginia areas. While strongest forcing/deepest moisture will
remain south of our region today, moist low level northeast flow
will result in scattered light rain showers along with areas of
drizzle through late afternoon in most areas. Ptype will mainly be
liquid, except across the high terrain of the Worcester Hills/East
slopes of the Berks as well as interior northeast MA where a
mixture of light sleet/light snow showers and perhaps some
freezing drizzle will be possible. Any accums will be quite light
through late afternoon, but untreated roads may be slippery in
this region.

Temps will mainly be in the 30s and it will feel quite raw as
northeast winds increase to between 30 and 40 mph.



*** Significant storm will bring a wide variety of hazards to the
region tonight into Tuesday with greatest uncertainty revolving
around ptype across the interior ***

Many hazards to consider as moisture laden strong low pressure
system tracks up the New England coast.  Will break things down in
more detail below about tonight into Tuesday.

1) Timing:

Strong low pressure lifting northeast will allow moderate to heavy
precipitation to quickly overspread the region from south to north
roughly between 5 and 8 pm this evening, potentially impacting part
of the evening rush hour. Precipitation will continue heavy at times
through the overnight hours.  The low pressure system will slowly
lift northeast on Tuesday.  While the forcing will not be as strong
as tonight, closed mid level low/s south of the region will continue
to result in steady precipitation on Tuesday.

2) Ptypes and Snow/Ice Amounts:

The greatest uncertainty with this forecast revolves around
precipitation types across the interior.  The models have a pocket
of cold air arriving in the 850 to 900 mb layer, as temps drop below
-5C on most guidance north of the Pike for a time this evening.
However, soundings are close to isothermal in the 700 to 800 mb
layer.  The ECMWF/GFS are colder and suggest several inches of
accumulating snow across interior northern MA and east slopes of the
Berks, while the NAM/RGEM are just a bit milder resulting in mainly
moderate to heavy sleet. It is a very difficult forecast because a
slight change in thermal profiles/ptype intensity will make a big
difference in the overall outcomes.

Given the uncertainty, have blended the forecast guidance for now.
Have gone with 2 to 4 inches of snow/sleet across interior northern
MA.  If we trend colder certainly may see 6+ inches of snow near the
NH border, a milder solution may result in an inch or two of mainly

Further south across the higher terrain of northern CT and into
southwest/south Central MA, soundings show mainly sleet.  The sleet
may be heavy for a time as well, so certainly may see an inch or so
of sleet accumulation.  Opted to extend the Winter Weather Advisory
into this region, given potential for a fair amount of
sleet/slippery travel.  Along the Boston to Providence corridor,
some sleet may initially be mixed with the rain but should not be
too big of an issue with temps well above freezing.

Lastly, 850T will warm well above freezing in most locations by
Tuesday morning changing ptype to rain in most locales.  However,
surface temperatures should remain around freezing along the high
terrain of the east slopes of the Berks and Worcester Hills given
surface low tracking well southeast of the region.  This should
result in the risk for freezing rain. Ice accretion of one tenth to
one quarter of an inch will be possible in these locations. Slippery
travel will continue through Tuesday and winter weather advisories
will likely need to be extended.

3) Heavy Rain Across Eastern MA/RI:

The other concern will be across eastern MA/RI where a very strong
easterly low level jet 4 to 5 standard deviations above normal along
with PWATS 2+ above normal.  This will result in a widespread heavy
precipitation event.  The heaviest of this precipitation in the form
of rain should be across eastern MA/RI where the above factors
interact with a coastal front. This should result in 1.50 to 3" of
rain in this region with perhaps localized higher amounts. Any
amounts over 3 inches of rain will bring the risk for localized
urban flooding. Will also need to keep an eye on some small streams
if the 3+ inch amounts are realized. Therefore, have continued the
Flood Watch although this does not appear to be a situation for
widespread flooding.

4) Strong To Potentially Damaging Wind Gusts:

The guidance continues to be in very good agreement in showing an
easterly 925 mb jet 4 to 5 standard deviations above normal.  This
should bring a period of strong northeast wind gusts of 35 to 50 mph
inland, and between 50 and 60 mph along the coast with the strongest
of that across the Cape/Islands.  While it will become windy this
afternoon, the strongest of the winds will occur overnight under the
core of the strong easterly low level jet.

Will go with Wind Advisories for most areas except northwest MA and
High Wind Warnings Cape/Islands as well as the Plymouth County Coast
and Cape Ann.  These winds may result in a few downed trees/large
limbs and isolated power outages.  Fortunately, the mixing will not
be as extreme as we often see in colder Noreasters along the coast,
which should prevent potentially even stronger winds and more
widespread damage.



Big Picture...

West Atlantic ridge in place midweek will shift out to sea. Pacific
high pressure builds east into the Western USA, kicking an upper
trough east to the Eastern USA over the weekend. Contour heights at
500 mb will be above average during midweek, then below average
Friday through Sunday. This means mild weather midweek followed by
colder weather over the weekend.

Shortwave embedded in the upper trough will move northeast with the
trough, crossing New England during Thursday.  Diminishing upper jet
associated with this shortwave sweeps east and crosses New England
Wednesday night and Thursday, then remains well to  our south over
the weekend.


Tuesday night...

Coastal storm Southeast of Cape Cod in the evening departs toward
the Maritimes overnight. Lingering chance of showers through
midnight, but the upper trough shifts east of us at that time so
expect any leftover showers to taper off at that time. Winds shift
from the Northwest overnight and draw colder air into Southern New
England. We stayed close to consensus for model min temps, mid 20s
to mid 30s.


Atlantic high builds and brings dry weather. Northwest winds
trailing the departing storm will weaken, then turn southwest in the
afternoon. Any cold air that moved in behind the storm will be
pushed out again with the wind shift.

A weak cold front moves across on Thursday. Left exit region of the
upper jet moves across New England as the front moves through. This
would bring upper venting to go along with any low level convergence
along the front.  But moisture fields are limited, with most
moisture at or below 800 mb. So the forecast will anticipate clouds
but little/no precip. Best chance of any precip will be over
northwest Massachusetts. Cold advection behind the front will
improve mixing, and bring winds gusts to 25 knots during the

Temps aloft support max temps in the 40s to around 50 each day.

Friday through Sunday...

Broad cyclonic flow with cold pool clouds and a cooling trend on
temps aloft. Temps aloft trend from around -8C Friday to -11C
Sunday, so max sfc temps trend from either side of 40F Friday to the
30s on Sunday. Northwest flow through the period with cold advection
mixing a few stronger gusts each day.


Forecaster Confidence Levels...

Low - less than 30 percent.
Moderate - 30 to 60 percent.
High - greater than 60 percent.

15z Update...

Not much change from 12z TAFs. Persistence probably the best
forecast today. Thus not much change from current conditions.
However at times conditions may briefly improve to marginal MVFR-
VFR across eastern MA and RI. Otherwise scattered rain/snow
showers continue today. Not expecting any accumulation on paved
surfaces given temps above freezing. Except high terrain such as
KORH where a coating or so is possible given the colder temps.
Earlier discussion below.


Short Term /through Tuesday/...

Today...Moderate to high confidence. Low end MVFR to IFR
conditions should persist in low clouds/scattered light showers
and areas of drizzle today. Some light snow showers/sleet will be
possible in the high terrain of the Worcester Hills/East slopes of
the Berks with perhaps even a touch of freezing drizzle. Northeast
wind gusts should increase to between 30 and 40 knots by

Tonight...Moderate to high confidence.  Mainly IFR condition with
localized LIFR conditions. Heaviest precipitation tonight, which will
mainly be in the form of rain along the coastal plain with perhaps
some sleet mixed in this evening.  A period of moderate to heavy
sleet is likely for interior MA and perhaps into portions of
northern CT, with some snow possible for a time across interior
northern MA.  Northeast wind gusts of 30 to 40 knots expected across
the interior with 40 to 50 knots on the immediate coast.

Tuesday...Moderate to high confidence.  Low end MVFR to IFR
conditions persist.  Ptype will have transitioned to mainly rain,
except pockets of freezing rain possible across the high terrain of
the Worcester Hills/East slopes of the Berkshires.  Still windy
early in the morning along the coast, but should see gusts diminish
to between 20 and 25 knots during the afternoon.

KBOS TAF...Moderate to high confidence in TAF.

KBDL TAF...Moderate to high confidence in TAF.  Period of sleet may
arrive at the terminal between 21z and 23z.

Outlook /Tuesday Night through Friday/...Moderate confidence.

Tuesday night...

Coastal storm moves off to the Maritimes. Northeast winds turn from
the Northwest overnight.  Winds may gust 20 to 25 knots along the
eastern coast, but will be lighter inland.

Wednesday through Friday...

VFR. An approaching cold front on Thursday may bring a period of
MVFR cigs/vsbys in rain showers for parts of Northwest Mass. West
winds behind the cold front may gust to 25 knots Thursday afternoon
and Friday.


Forecaster Confidence Levels...

Low - less than 30 percent.
Moderate - 30 to 60 percent.
High - greater than 60 percent.

*** Storm Force Wind Gusts and 20 to 25+ foot seas across
our outer-waters tonight into early Tuesday will result
in a dangerous storm for mariners ***

10 AM Update...

Not much change from previous forecast. ENE winds continue to
increase today with gales over the southern waters spreading
northward this afternoon. By sunset wind speeds will increase to
near 50 kt along the southern waters of RI and about 40 kt
elsewhere. Rain/snow showers will limit vsby to about 3 miles at
times. Earlier discussion below.


Today and Tuesday...Moderate to high confidence.  Pressure gradient
will increase through tonight as strong low pressure tracks up the
new England coast and combines with the high across eastern Canada.
Northeast winds will increase to strong gales through the afternoon,
and then to storm force easterly wind gusts tonight between 45 and
55 knots.  Powerful winds combined with long easterly fetch will
result in 20 to 25+ foot seas tonight into Tuesday morning.  Winds
should gradually diminish during the day Tuesday as low level jet
lifts to the north.  Seas will gradually diminish, but this will be
a slower process.

Outlook /Tuesday Night through Friday/...Moderate confidence.

Tuesday night...

Storm center southeast of Nantucket in the evening moves northeast
to the Maritimes overnight. Rain and fog will diminish and vsbys
improve. Winds shift from the northwest and diminish overnight with
gusts near 25 knots. Seas start the evening 8 to 13 feet and
diminish during the night as winds shift to offshore and diminish.
Small Craft Advisory will be needed during this period.

Wednesday through Friday...

NW winds diminish Wednesday and back from the WSW. Lingering gusts
to 25 knots.  A cold front sweeps across the waters Thursday,
followed by colder air and gusty west winds near 25 knots.  Colder
air and gusty winds will continue into Friday as well.  Seas will
diminish through the period, but with 5 to 6 foot seas lingering on
the outer waters.  Small Craft Advisory will be needed for some or
all of this period.


Timing of strongest winds has been delayed by a few hours on 00z
model runs, so we will likewise delay timing of highest storm surge
for both this evening`s and Tuesday morning`s high tide cycles.

For East Coastal MA including Cape Cod, Martha`s Vineyard, and
Nantucket, tide gauges are showing around a 1 foot surge at both
Boston and Nantucket early this morning which is well above model
storm surge guidance. We still think we will see around a 2-foot
storm surge with this evening`s high tide, which would result in
pockets of minor coastal flooding (not widespread), despite low
astronomical tides (8.2 feet at Boston and 2.4 feet at Nantucket). A
Coastal Flood Advisory will be issued for the evening high tide.

There is more concern for Tuesday morning`s high tide, when
astronomical tides are a bit higher (9.4 feet at Boston and 3.3 feet
at Nantucket). Once again model storm surge guidance is far too low,
only indicating a 1 to 2-foot storm surge. Given strength of wind
field, fetch, and duration we feel a 3 to perhaps even 4-foot storm
surge is more likely. Combined with seas of over 20 feet offshore,
widespread minor coastal flooding is expected but there is also the
potential for pockets of moderate coastal flooding, especially near
Newburyport, Scituate, and possibly Gloucester and Nantucket. A
Coastal Flood Watch will be issued for all of eastern MA for the
Tuesday morning high tide.

In addition, due to the prolonged and strong easterly flow, there is
also the concern for minor coastal flooding Tuesday morning along
portions of the South Coast, most notably Newport, Westerly, and
Block Island. Since confidence is a bit lower, we will hold off on
any headlines there, but a Coastal Flood Advisory may also need to
be issued in later forecasts.


CT...Wind Advisory from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST Tuesday for
     Winter Weather Advisory from 4 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST
     Tuesday for CTZ002-003.
MA...High Wind Warning from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST Tuesday
     for MAZ007-019-022>024.
     Flood Watch from 1 PM EST this afternoon through Tuesday
     morning for MAZ005>007-013>021.
     Coastal Flood Watch from late tonight through Tuesday morning
     for MAZ007-015-016-019.
     Coastal Flood Advisory from 6 PM to 10 PM EST this evening for
     Wind Advisory from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST Tuesday for
     Winter Weather Advisory from 4 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST
     Tuesday for MAZ002>006-008>012-026.
     Coastal Flood Watch Tuesday morning for MAZ022>024.
     Coastal Flood Advisory from 7 PM to 11 PM EST this evening for
RI...High Wind Warning from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST Tuesday
     for RIZ008.
     Flood Watch from 1 PM EST this afternoon through Tuesday
     morning for RIZ001>007.
     Wind Advisory from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST Tuesday for
MARINE...Storm Warning from 1 PM this afternoon to 4 AM EST Tuesday for
     Storm Warning from 1 PM this afternoon to 3 AM EST Tuesday for
     Gale Warning until 7 AM EST Tuesday for ANZ230.
     Gale Warning until 4 AM EST Tuesday for ANZ236.
     Storm Warning until 2 AM EST Tuesday for ANZ235-237.
     Storm Warning until 7 AM EST Tuesday for ANZ250-254.
     Storm Warning from 2 PM this afternoon to 6 AM EST Tuesday for
     Storm Warning until 4 AM EST Tuesday for ANZ255-256.


NEAR TERM...WTB/Frank/Nocera
TIDES/COASTAL FLOODING... is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.