Wednesday March 15 2023 Forecast (7:33AM)

DAYS 1-5 (MARCH 15-19)

A blustery Ides of March behind our departing winter storm, which resulted in a sharp contrast in snowfall between very little to the southeast and monumental amounts to the northwest. In fact, across Middlesex County MA alone, amounts ranged from about 3 inches in the southeast corner of the county to 30 inches in Ashby, a high elevation in the northwestern corner of the county. Amazing when you think about it, but makes total sense given the synoptic set-up of this particular situation – and a great example of the variety that can take place over such a short distance. Today’s gusty wind is still as a result of the low pressure area that took a track like a toddler who can’t decide which toy to play with, culminating in a loop just off the eastern coast of New England. That system will move away today but as it does so, breaking clouds allow solar heating to mix an atmosphere that is still very cold aloft, so the gusty winds will continue today. High pressure moves in tonight to calm the winds and it provides us with a nice mid March day on Thursday. We’ll have to be aware of some stream and river flooding due to melting snow the next several days since the heavy snow (where it fell) was loaded with water and also followed heavy rainfall. Our next low pressure system to impact the region will do so late this week as it moves through the Great Lakes and drags a warm front through the region on Friday and a cold front early Saturday. Yesterday I was a little concerned about low pressure coming up that cold front to prolong rainfall and possibly end it as snowfall on Saturday, but latest indications are that the front will move along a little more swiftly, and a wet start to Saturday will then transition to dry, breezy, chilly weather, which will then last for the balance of the weekend.

TODAY: Lots of clouds. A passing light rain or snow shower possible. Highs 38-45. Wind N-NW 15-25 MPH, higher gusts.

TONIGHT: Clearing. Lows 25-32. Wind NW 5-15 MPH.

THURSDAY: Mostly sunny. Highs 41-48. Wind NW 5-15 MPH.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear. Lows 26-33. Wind variable up to 10 MPH.

FRIDAY: Variably cloudy. Brief light snow/mix possible central MA and southern NH morning. Brief light rain possible anywhere midday. Highs 43-50. Wind SW 5-15 MPH.

FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Rain showers likely. Lows 40-47. Wind SW 5-15 MPH.

SATURDAY: Cloudy with rain showers likely early, then a sun/cloud mix. Temperatures steady 40-47 morning, may fall slightly during the afternoon. Wind shifting to NW 10-20 MPH, higher gusts.

SATURDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Lows 25-32. Wind NW-W 5-15 MPH, higher gusts.

SUNDAY: Sun/cloud mix. Highs 38-45. Wind W 10-20 MPH, higher gusts.

DAYS 6-10 (MARCH 20-24)

Spring arrives with the Vernal Equinox on March 20 with fair weather and moderating temperatures expected that day and March 21. Vulnerable to unsettled weather during the middle and latter portion of the period with a cooling trend.

DAYS 11-15 (MARCH 25-29)

One or two low pressure systems can impact the region with unsettled weather in a return to an active pattern for late month. Temperatures mostly below normal.

113 thoughts on “Wednesday March 15 2023 Forecast (7:33AM)”

  1. Thanks TK !

    We saw 1/2 inch at sea level and 1 inch on the western end of town, a little higher up.

    For me personally, snowfall didn’t meet what I thought would happen.

    Synoptically, meteorologically, I believe the models got the storm correct.

  2. Good morning and thank you TK.

    I posted a toned down rant at end of previous blog. not going to re-post.

    1. If there was one thing that this event reminded me of it is that there are still a lot of ignorant and mean-spirited people out there who expect perfection in the service you do to provide them information, yet they could never do it consistently as well as any professional.

      But they won’t hesitate for a moment to leave a nasty comment somewhere putting you down because these people rejoice in anything they perceive as the slightest error.

      That stuff doesn’t impact me, personally. I do, however feel bad for the unfortunate judgment errors that these people are riddled with. Fueled by some kind of hatred that I hope they find a way to deal with..

      I’m guessing all of those people would have predicted a difference of 30 inches across one county in the snowfall. Right… 😉

      1. Sorry to hear TK !

        No one deserves that !

        You are the best there is out there in the weather world !!

      2. Sadly, what you describe seems to be the new norm. I commented on it on here last night. These folks are far from the majority, I hope, but have the loudest mouths. Disagreeing with anyone is absolutely every person’s right. But we have somehow forgotten how to do so respectfully.

        I’m heartsick for you, TK, and everyone in your profession. Please try to focus on Tom’s words both today and his posts yesterday.

  3. Good morning, everyone! Here’s this morning’s post-storm view of my back yard: (Holden, 800’ish elevation).

    Wishing all you eastern snow-lovers one good coastal winter storm before spring sets in! And hoping it keeps away from central MA… I’m happily looking forward to thunderstorm tracking on hot summer days. 🙂

  4. From the end of yesterdays blog:
    I measured about 18″ in Lunenburg. We probably got a few more after that.

    Our power went out yesterday at 7:30am and came back today at 3:30am.

    Quick update:
    Official total is 19″
    I’m surprised how close my measurement was. I use the shelf on the side of my BBQ. This storm I made two measurements and cleaned the shelf in between.

  5. Without ranting or blaming or anything else, but simply in the interest of knowing what happened.

    Is there any chance that the deep marine layer from the persistent Easterly flow ahead of this system was simply
    too much for dynamic cooling to overcome? Had the winds backed to NE to NNE earlier while there was still plenty of QPF, I think the results in Eastern sections would have been totally different. All forecasts aside, that is my take on this system.

    Thoughts? Thank you.

    1. Excellent comment. This system has a lot of lessons to teach. And we are in a great place to learn

  6. Thanks, TK.

    I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with nasty, ignorant comments.

    Good lord, don’t people know what’s really important in life? Like someone’s health! My thoughts are with your brother, for example, as he recuperates.

    Back to the storm. This one was for the ages in parts of Massachusetts. No doubt about that. For the immediate coast-line it was a lot of precipitation and very little (practically nothing where I am – Back Bay) snow. And that’s okay. I certainly have complained, or at least talked about, Boston’s lack of snow this winter. But it is in no way directed at TK or any other forecaster.

    1. Totally agree Joshua. TK and our Other Boston Mets are the BEST in the business. Do they always get it right? No, of course not, but they’re right most of the time and do a fantastic job.
      This storm was IMPOSSIBLE to say the least!
      Just look at how many times the NWS changed their snow map and watches and warnings. If it weren’t so serious, it would have
      been comical.

  7. Trying not to read some of the replies meteorologists have been getting on twitter. Absolutely getting raked over the coals by mouthbreathers who are silent when everything falls absolutely in line.

  8. Thanks TK. The fact that you were chiming in and answering everyone throughout the storm yesterday and this week with everything that you have going on is Above and Beyond. Appreciate your discussions and forecasts and without the forum we have here that you’ve created many of us would be lost!

  9. To the storm. I’d say the dry slot got us. That said, we had a several inch difference within Sutton. And I’d guess conservatively my area had 2-3 inches fall.

    It’s a shame people can’t just sit back and marvel at the amazingly complex power of weather

  10. This is a post storm commentary by a friend / colleague posted on a page we belong to…

    It answers some questions and more.

    “So now that the event is over, how did the forecasts do? For the most part, good. All along there was solid forecast model agreement indicating well-inland and higher elevations were going to get absolutely buried, and the exactly what happened with many totals over 25″. The issue was at lower elevations and coastal areas in southern New England. It came really, really close to being a blockbuster snowstorm for eastern MA, RI and more parts of CT. The issue was the temperatures in the lowest 2000 ft. Above that it was below freezing. And I am talking razor thin line here. If the temps in the lower 2000 ft averaged only 1 deg F colder, it would have been a much different story. Forecast models can not handle such accuracy for the most part. Some showed it cold enough, some others showed it just a little too warm. So knowing which model would be right before a storm such as this is practically impossible. Don’t forget forecast models only *simulate* the atmosphere and weather. That’s not the same as an exact copy!
    So they are subject to errors. Have the forecast models improved a lot over the last several decades, yes, but they still have limitations!

    So what could have made a difference for more snow? If the antecedent cold air mass over the Northeast was just slightly colder before the storm, that would have made a big difference. If the surface low pressure tracked say 20 mi farther S as it passed S of Long Island, that probably would have been enough. Also, ocean temps, due to to very mild winter, are averaging 3-4 F above normal. Since we had a E wind for the first part of the storm, that slightly warmer marine air penetrated well-inland. If this past winter was say a normal winter for cold, this past storm would have be a *lot* snowier in eastern MA, RI, and southern CT. One more item, time of year. If this storm was say two weeks earlier, that would have likely been enough to make it just cold enough for a lot more snow in places that did not get much. Even over two weeks, the days get little longer and the sun angle gets a little higher, which raises the average temp just a little, but as I said, such a small difference in temperature can be huge as to sensible weather!

    This is what you deal with in the spring for snowstorms. Storm track and evolution, wind direction, and other things has be closer to ideal to get big snows. Obviously it is easier in Dec-Jan-Feb merely b/c those are the coldest months of the year.

    Also, once into mid-March, it hard to get really cold temperatures prior to any storm, esp. at the surface b/c of the longer days and higher sun angle. But that can be misleading. Full sun this time of year, and temps can get in the 50s at the surface, but aloft 4000 ft and above, it can be still below freezing. Take out that sunshine with thick cloud cover and heavy precipitation, you basically negate most of the warming the surface, and the heavy precipitation can mix out the lower levels of the atmosphere, bring down colder air aloft, and make it *just* cold enough for heavy snow.

    Elevation plays a big role in the spring b/c just by living at a higher elevation, your average temperatures year-round are a bit colder. I think for every 1000 ft elevation, you can subtract 3-4 deg F to your average temperatures compared to a location near or at sea level. Most of the year if you live at 1000 ft or so, you don’t really notice the couple of degrees difference, *but* in a situation like yesterday, it can make all the difference in the world for your precipitation type!”

    1. Wonderful write-up!! Thank you.
      If confirmed just about everything I thought was the cause of little to no snow in Eastern Sections. Makes perfect sense!
      Thank you for posting this!!!!

    2. Superb. We are clearly not at or near the ocean, but I am thinking elevation played a huge part even within towns?? Absolutely Fascinating.

  11. I have not posted in a long time but read it everyday. It is by far the best and most accurate information around. It is not an easy business and it is made much harder by people that just read a headline and come up with their own assumptions. TK and others do a fabulous job and I want to thank you. I had about 17 inches in Pelham, NH. I am just under 400 ft in elevation. You did not have to drive far to find about 6 inches.

  12. ToTK:

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

  13. Disappointed in what we got in Amesbury, but it was close to or at the lower end of the projected range. It is what it is, and in the end who cares? More snow would have been fund, but I still woke up today, put my 2 feet on the floor, had breakfast and will soon be off doing things I enjoy. At my advancing age, I cherish each day!

    1. are we rivals for the oldest on the block. I do recall there
      was someone older than I. Are you he? 🙂

  14. Thanks TK.

    We ended up with 3.8″ here in Coventry…all yesterday PM and night. It is beautiful out there this AM with the snow plastered on all the trees.

    This was an extremely difficult forecast given the variability of weather impacts over short distances. I could tell you on Monday afternoon after looking at the models that there was NO WAY any forecast by any outlet was going to be totally correct for all areas. There was huge bust potential with this storm given that small variabilities in track, 100 feet change in elevation, or one degree difference in temperature resulted in vastly different impacts over short distances. I thought most of the forecasts overall were excellent given the circumstances.

    I am wrapping up some work this AM and then we are flying out to Bozeman MT later this PM. Some fresh snow falling there today as well. I will be sure to post some pictures!

    1. Bozeman is a great place to visit. Friends of mine owned a Bed and Breakfast on the side of the Bridget Mountains. And their weather is as crazy as here. We went there in February years ago and enjoyed a great lunch outdoors when we landed. The next day was blizzard conditions. 🙂

    2. Thank you all. We are flying into Bozeman and then heading an hour south to ski at Big Sky for three days. I have never been there and am looking forward to it. Weather looks real nice the next 3 days there after the snow today.

  15. During the last few days, I didn’t look much past 96 hrs on the models.

    So, time to look ahead again today and see what big picture trends they are showing.

  16. Models have backed off a bit today on the storm threat for middle of next week. All still showing an ocean storm but they send it out to sea to our south. Still plenty of time with this one.

  17. Final Map and listing of snow totals throughout the Northeast. Some incredible 40+ amounts showing up in eastern NY and southern VT and even 3 feet of snow fell as far north as Pinkham Notch NH:

    Note if you zoom in on the map, the listing of snow totals on the right gets pared down to show only the locations visible on the map.

    1. Nice map!!!

      Here’s one that will really show the issue.

      LOOK at Downtown Worcester at 479′ 4. something inches
      and Worcester airport at 1,000′ 14. Something inches

      How far apart are they? Only a few miles, BUT it is that
      500+ feet in altitude that made all of the difference!


      1. Happened in lots of places like that too. My brother who lives in Holden near the Worcester line I think had 10″ of snow. Me, maybe four miles away and ~200′ higher had almost 2x that. Wild to drive around and see.

    1. Do you have power. A FB friend who lives in lunenburg hasn’t had power since last night. He may now. I have not looked in a while

  18. Thanks TK.

    Excellent explanation from your friend/colleague regarding our storm. It really was well described in layman’s terms. Our atmosphere is very volatile, sometimes hard to forecast. Thanks for posting it! 🙂

  19. Just patches left of what little snow fell & as Tom mentioned maybe 1/2 inch on grass & cars with nothing on pavement.

  20. TK, thanks for posting what your colleague wrote.

    I work with economic models a lot. They simulate reality, but aren’t reality. And, because of circumstances and context beyond the control of even the best modelers, their estimated inputs (variables) are subject to error. Some of that error is large enough to complete mess up economic forecasts. In part this is because economics deals with people’s behavior. And people aren’t necessarily rational.

    Meteorology is very different from economics, as it deals with natural phenomena which aren’t influenced by human behavior (well, certainly not with immediate effect). In fact, unlike economics it’s rare that a short-term weather forecast totally misses. But, similar principles apply. Estimated inputs (variables) can be off by just a tiny bit – as your friend mentioned – and that can change things significantly.

    I have no proof for this, but I believe Boston has been deprived of snow all winter – well, except for the 12 plus inches it’s gotten in tiny increments – because of: a. Lack of antecedent, current, and future `true’ cold airmasses when the storms hit; b. Much warmer than normal ocean water. It’s hard to properly account for a and b when you’ve got a touch and go situation.

    We economists operate “at the margin” (which is why calculus/derivatives is so important to us). This implies that marginal shifts one way or another can make the difference. This holds true for weather forecasters, too.

        1. Yes, indeed. My Dad used to train us in hiking. We’d start with Blue Hill, which he told us was “630 feet above sea level.” Then we’d hike Monadnock which he said was “over 3,000 feet above sea level.” And from there it was off to Mt. Washington, “6280 feet above sea level.”

          It’s a method I used with my kids and it worked well.

    1. Pretty cool to see that E and NE wind rise over the higher elevated areas of Worcester County …….

      To then sink to the west of Worcester CT into the CT River Valley …….. then rise again hitting the Berkshires and southern Green Mtns.

  21. I should have known better!!!

    I have to say that the UKMET was firing off warning signals
    that I chose to ignore.

    It was spewing out great amounts of qpf, but little of any SNOW
    in Eastern Sections (at least at first, but it slowly caved to the others). In any case I looked at the 850 mb temps and they were plenty cold enough. Hmmm why now snow.? 700mb were great as well. Then I looked at the 925MB chart and there is was, temps Well above freezing as in 2-3 degrees C or 35.6 – 37.4 F. I am assuming that the warmer layer was from the ground up to AT LEAST 2,600 feet and perhaps higher than that. No wonder Dynamic Cooling didn’t over come that near the coastal plain.

      1. Thanks Tom, Right or wrong, just sharing what I saw.

        I think I posted something somewhere along the line, but
        It was the UKMET and all the others were not agreeing, so
        I let it go. 🙂

        1. No, 10 days or so from now. I was just posting it because it’s the complete opposite of the gfs which is springlike for 10 days out.

  22. Despite it being March, I don’t see the snow piles in places like Lunenburg or Ashby disappearing any time soon. I think there will be sizable snow piles there until April, and who knows maybe into May (at least small, dirty piles).

    By the way, today’s wind was March brisk. I mean right through your layers brisk. There’s nothing like a March wind. It’s so identifiable.

    1. Joshua, in 1997 we in Boston lost most piles of the 25.4” by the following week. That snow disappeared big time.

    2. They will go pretty quickly I think.

      Unlike early-mid winter, they are built when the sun angle is already fairly high, and won’t go through multiple deep freeze / thaw cycles.

    3. I’ll let you know.

      I’m using our driveway as an “experiment.” Or maybe I’m just lazy. The upper part of the driveway is very wide – much wider than we would ever need. I left about half of the width uncleared. In fact, there is even more snow on it than fell yesterday because some of the snow that I blew from the part I did clear ended up on the experimental area.

      All in the name of science. 😉

  23. Pretty cool how our weather is connected. It’s been raining most of the day here in Jamaica and it is the tail end of the frontal boundary that extends all the way down here from the storm you had yesterday..

  24. Still no red-winged blackbirds. I’m a little concerned.

    Has anyone seen or heard one yet this year? They should be back by now. Maybe they really were detained at the border for “loud shrieking.”

    1. I have not seen one. I checked the wildlife fB page I belong to and don’t see one mentioned. You are of course right that it is time. I drive around areas tomorrow where I tend to see them in the fields.

      The osprey are returning for what that is worth

    2. We have been seeing and hearing a flock of about 100 in Lunenburg. We even saw some while all the snow was falling. At this point, they might be wishing they had been detained.

  25. I was just chatting with My brother in Bow, NH. He said they had over a foot but 8-10 miles up the road in concord had only a few inches.

  26. Sorry I wasn’t able to post the earlier…
    Thank you TK for all your time and knowledge devoted to this site! That thanks also goes to everyone else that kept us in the know before, during and after yesterday’s Nor’easter.
    Well done all!

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