BOSTON (CBS) — Classic New England.
This season we have not been able to buy a snowflake. We were approaching the records for the last first inch of snow total and the last first inch from a single storm. And then just like that. . . Boom. The largest snowstorm in Boston since December 2020. As of Thursday, Boston was 0.4” for the 2021-2022 season, nearly a foot below average to date. 24 hours and 11.2 inches later, Boston is at 11.6 inches for the season, less than an inch from average.
11.2” from Friday’s storm is easily our largest storm of 2021 and 2022. You have to go back to the December 16-17, 2020 storm (12.7”) for our last storm of this size. Friday’s snow in Boston was also enough to make this January the snowiest in 4 years (and to think we have over 3 weeks left)! We haven’t had this much January snow in Boston since 2018 when we totaled 17.8.” Strange considering the city averages just over 14” in January, but we’ve had some lean years.
Who has more? Check the list of snow totals
Oddly enough, Boston is now outscoring Worcester this season. At last check, Worcester had just 6.2″ on Friday, bringing the season’s snow total to a measly 10.0.” Don’t worry, Worcester, you’ll get your arrogance back, it’s only a matter of time.
Friday’s storm had to do with that band, that band, that band (anyone have my “All About That Bass” reference here). We knew there would be denser bands and that is why we had higher numbers (4-8”) in and around Boston in our forecast. What we didn’t see, and what the models also couldn’t predict, was how juicy that band would be. We had a near-perfect setup early on Friday with some aggressive lifting in the atmosphere right in the crucial and best snowmaking zone. What resulted were big, fat dendrites, the best kind of snowflake for rapid accumulation.
In a “typical” snowstorm, you typically get about 10″ of snow for every 1″ of liquid precipitation, a 10-1 ratio. This storm was a bit different and featured a lot of fluff factor. Boston only had about 0.48 inches of liquid. . . so in a normal event you would expect it to equate to about 4.8” of snow. However, thanks to cooler temperatures and ideal snowflake production on Friday, Boston’s ratio was closer to 25-1! That is a serious fool!
The same can be said for all those communities south of Boston like Milton, Norwood and Walpole. They were “fluffy” to the tune of 10-14″ of snow, most of which fell in just 4-5 hours. Areas outside of the heavy snow band had a more reasonable snowstorm with generally 4-8″ on each side and lower amounts (2-4”) towards the Outer Cape and distant areas to the north and west.
With the weather forecast “things happen”. Or in this case, I suppose you could say “fluff happens”. There are almost always a few surprises with every storm. Models have come a long way in recent years, but we still can’t forecast down to the smallest scales. Fortunately, this one was predicted early enough and accurately enough to allow for school and business closures and for most people to stay off the roads.
It doesn’t melt much, that’s for sure. A cold Saturday followed by a sloppy Sunday. It looks like a mix of rain, freezing rain and sleet on Sunday. The largest icing impact will be northwest of 495 and in elevated areas of southern New England.
Then next week we’ll get a blast of cold straight from the Arctic. Tuesday will be by far the coldest day of the young season with highs in the single digits and extreme temperatures and wind chills well below freezing all day. New England will be the most abnormally cold region in the entire Northern Hemisphere on Tuesday! (Cold compared to average)
That may be followed by some snow showers and another dose of bitter cold Thursday through Friday.
It sure looks like January may be our harshest winter month this season. No more snowstorms in the offing for now, but certainly a lot of cold heading our way for a while.
Stay tuned! We’ll have frequent updates on WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and CBSN Boston.