Widespread soaking rain Thursday night into Friday
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A storm system tracking along the Gulf Coast in the Southeast U.S. will sling thickening cloud-cover northeast over us today. The first showers associated with that system will arrive in Richmond around 6 PM, but the constant rain will be between 10 PM Thursday through mid-day Friday.
Overnight in western Virginia, rain will mix with sleet and snow for a time. Snow will fall in the mountains of Virginia, with several inches possible in the highest elevations.
Rain in central Virginia will range one to two inches from tonight through Friday, with some totals between two to three inches.
Once this system tracks along the East Coast northeast of us toward New England, an upper-level strong short-wave will merge with the lower-level coastal low and intensify it to blizzard strength. Here’s where that upper disturbance is as of early Thursday morning:
There are Blizzard Watches (in lime on the map below) posted for parts of New England, including Boston, MA.
Winter Storm Watches are in blue, and there’s even a Hurricane Force Wind watch in purple along Maine’s coastline!
Here is a look at one forecast snowfall output (NAM) for New England (centered at Boston), with totals exceeding 20 inches (more than two feet is possible!)
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This nor’easter will likely rank among the biggest snow storms for places like Boston on record. For example, if Boston gets 22 inches, it will be the fourth biggest snow storm on record. If they get another half-inch, they’ll tie for third place (Jan 22-23, 2005 snow). The current biggest snow storms for Boston on record are the epic Feb 6-7, 1978 (27.1″) and the Feb 17-18, 2003 (27.5″).
But it’s not just the snowfall amounts that are staggering, even for New England. It’s the fact that this heavy snow will be accompanied by strong wind gusts. That dangerous combination will likely mean widespread power outages, and travel will be practically impossible anywhere in the region during and immediately following the storm.