It may be a little chilly by Florida standards this weekend, but who’s complaining…right? UF Meteorologist Jeff Huffman highlights how thankful Floridians should be for the sunny and dry weekend by comparing a time lapse in Saint Augustine to Boston. He also highlights two other potential travel trouble spots this weekend over the central U.S. in this WRUF Travel Weather Update.
Two weather systems will combine forces and quickly merge into one incredible storm this weekend in the Northeast. Travel could be halted by a crippling amount of snow for much of New England starting Friday, sending a ripple effect of delays across the rest of the nation over the weekend. A fast-moving disturbance will move across The Southeast Thursday pulling moisture northward out of the Gulf of Mexico and delivering some beneficial rain to parts of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. At the same time, a cold front will be moving across the Great Lakes reinforcing the cold air that has been in place in the Upper Midwest for the past couple of weeks. As the systems near each other in the Mid-Atlantic states, an area of low pressure will be born and quickly strengthen into a monster as it moves up the East Coast on Friday.
This Nor’Easter will be a “late bloomer” if you will, meaning it will not mature to its full potential until it has assumed a position near Cape Cod. This is great news for the lower portions of the Megalopolis (or the I-95 corridor), as cities such as Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia may only experience minimal affects from the storm. However, cities further north will feel the full fury of this Nor’Easter on Friday and Saturday as it deepens rapidly off-shore. Moisture will quickly be pulled inland and rapidly change to snow as the colder air from the aforementioned front filters in. Winds of tropical storm force will be possible along the coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine as the storm’s pressure falls dramatically Friday Night and Saturday. The combined effects of the snow and wind will likely lead to blizzard conditions for cities such as Boston, Hartford, Providence, and Springfield, MA. New York City and much of Long Island will also be impacted by significant snow and wind in the storm’s wake. Historical data, combined with the projections of forecast models, suggest this storm could be similar in size, strength, and location to the Blizzard of ’78 that hit in early February 35 years ago to the date. Confidence on the exact track and strength of this weekend’s storm is still a bit in question, but there’s no doubt on the scope of the impact at this point.
Southeast US: A large area of showers and thunderstorms will move quickly through the Gulf Coast states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and northern Florida on Thursday and Thursday night. Stronger storms will be possible on the southern edge of this system, with a few isolated severe cells possible in the Florida panhandle or southern Georgia. Rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches will be common, and some localized amounts close to three inches will be possible in the drought-stricken region of central Georgia. Motorists traveling through these areas on Thursday should prepare for some slower travel due to heavier downpours at times. Interstates potentially affected are I-75, I-95, I-10, and I-20.
Northeast US: Crippling amounts of snow are expected in much of New England Friday night and Saturday, where some residents will be measuring this storm with a yard stick. One to two feet of snow is possible for inland parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southern Maine. Boston, Portland, Springfield, Mass., and Providence are all capable of receiving more than a foot with this storm. Six to twelve inches of snow is possible immediately surrounding the aforementioned areas, including the cities of New York and Albany. Lesser amounts of snow are possible across a large area of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Pennsylvania. All major airports in the Northeast will likely be impacted by this Nor’Easter, with Boston and New York hubs possibly being shut down for a period of time during the height of the storm.
WRUF-TV will have updates at 20 past the hour with the latest on this storm and its potential impact. Check ahead with your air carrier for possible vouchers to reschedule your flight before the storm hits.