Oddly enough, the first storm of the year that I’ve seen as actually having some teeth has yet to be named by the weather celebrities. The myriad of watches posted earlier have since turned to warnings over the past several hours to include Coastal Flood [6 a.m. – 10 a.m. Wednesday], High Wind [5 a.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday] and Blizzard conditions [midnight – 2 p.m. Wednesday]. I believe this one may leave a mark.
While temperatures are slated to maintain in the low thirties throughout the storm, the wind and snow should pick up around 1 a.m. where wind speeds are looking to steadily increase from the mid 20 mph range to the mid to upper 40’s shortly after an otherwise sunrise. The heaviest dose of wind and snow is in the 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. window and with the system moving with all the urgency of the East Orleans Post Office parking lot on a Saturday in July, the snow looks to taper off in the early evening hours.
Coastal Flood Warning: the above mentioned timeline jibes with the schedule high tide cycle where minor to moderate flooding is expected with a 2-3’ surge expected on East facing beaches pushed by off shore waves of 20-25’. *A COASTAL FLOOD WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN MODERATE OR MAJOR COASTAL FLOODING IS EXPECTED. MODERATE COASTAL FLOODING PRODUCES WIDESPREAD FLOODING OF VULNERABLE SHORE ROADS AND/OR BASEMENTS DUE TO THE HEIGHT OF STORM TIDE AND/OR WAVE ACTION. NUMEROUS ROAD CLOSURES ARE NEEDED. LIVES MAY BE AT RISK FOR PEOPLE WHO PUT THEMSELVES IN HARMS WAY. ISOLATED STRUCTURAL DAMAGE MAY BE OBSERVED.
High Wind Warning: Perhaps the driving variable, gusts are expected to peak in the 60-70 mph range between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday. While fluid conditions are always wait-and-see, we’ve been in this wind range several times this winter and power outages were nominal. *A HIGH WIND WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS OF 40 MPH ARE EXPECTED FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR… WITH GUSTS OF 58 MPH OR GREATER AT ANY TIME. DAMAGE TO TREES… POWER LINES… AND PROPERTY ARE POSSIBLE WITH WIND OF THIS MAGNITUDE. POWER OUTAGES ARE LIKELY. TAKE ACTION NOW TO SECURE ANY LOOSE OUTDOOR OBJECTS.
Blizzard Warning: Snow accumulations range wildly from one source to the next but the popular consensus is in the 8-10” area while I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the final tally a tick north of 12”. *A BLIZZARD WARNING IS ISSUED WHEN SUSTAINED WINDS OR FREQUENT GUSTS OVER 35 MPH ARE EXPECTED WITH CONSIDERABLE FALLING AND/OR BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. VISIBILITIES WILL BECOME POOR WITH WHITEOUT CONDITIONS AT TIMES. THOSE VENTURING OUTDOORS MAY BECOME LOST OR DISORIENTED… SO PERSONS IN THE WARNING AREA ARE ADVISED TO STAY INDOORS.