Posted by: coastlinesproject | February 13, 2015

NE Valentine’s Day Storm, Sunday. Bill Ryan’s report.

This storm is an odd one. You wouldn’t exactly call it a Nor’Easter as the strongest winds will be from the NNW to NW on Sunday. The forecast models have been in agreement, and consistent run-to-run, with this storm and so high confidence in the overall forecast and timing. The main uncertainty is the intensity of wind gusts on Sunday and the total snow amount on the Cape. This will be a nearly all-snow event. Blizzard Warnings likely to come out soon.

A disturbance in central Canada early Saturday will move quickly through the Great Lakes and then just explode (strengthen rapidly) almost right over Cape Cod in the early hours of Sunday. It will continue to strengthen as it moves along the Nova Scotia coast later Sunday. Based only on pressure, this would be the strongest storm so far this winter.

The main characteristic of this storm will be very strong, very gusty, winds that will accompany the strengthening on Sunday. On the good side, unlike a standard Nor’easter, we will only see a short period of onshore (easterly) winds in Cape Cod. The damaging easterly fetch will be pushed up to the region from Cape Ann northward into NH and ME. There will be very strong NW winds though across the Cape and a Blizzard Warning is likely to be issued. Winds will be a factor on the Cape from Sunday morning through Sunday night, easing slowly Monday morning. The main threat here are brief periods of intense gusts blowing stuff down.

The other uncertainty in the forecast for Cape Cod is the amount of snow. Right now, the WPC has Cape Cod with a 50/50 chance to reach the 6-8″ range. But this forecast is very likely to fluctuate over the next 12-24 hours. Snow is likely to start Saturday evening and end in the early hours of Monday. On the good side, it will be all snow and generally of the fluffy variety. Unlike a standard Nor’easter that has considerable fetch over the warmer ocean, this one is more of a continental-type storm and so “drier” in the sense that the snow won’t be mixed with sleet and rain. Snow amounts will be quite large but it won’t be heavy to shovel. But how much snow? When storms develop this fast, “bands” of heavy snow develop. These bands are smaller scale (meso-scale) phenomena and very difficult for forecast models to resolve beyond 6-12 hours out. These bands tend to move slowly, if at all, so if you end up underneath one the snow piles up. No way of knowing if the Cape catches one of these at this time but they are a threat to occur.

Do not see this storm being a big erosion threat for the east-facing beaches in Cape Cod. The most damage will be on the north and NW facing areas of Cape Cod Bay and then along the northern New England coast where they will see strong easterly fetch. Tides not extreme this weekend as well.

Here’s hoping they are still flying out of PVD Saturday morning, I want out of here…………


Read more in; Islands in the Storm, Storm Surge; A Coastal Village Battles the Atlantic, Beach Wars; 10,000 Years on a Barrier Beach. Available in local bookstores, and Amazon, Also See Strawberry Hill, UPNE, and Schiffer book tabs at the top of this page. 10% will go toward the David Mountain Memorial Fund to provide environmental books to Cape Cod and North Shore students.




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