Saturday/Sunday Storm: Changing snow forecasts; Expect freezing rain and icing

An update from Southborough Emergency Management confirms that while we may have a bad storm in Southborough tomorrow night, the details keep changing.

So be prepared for heavy snow up to 8″, followed by freezing rain/ice, and potential power outages Saturday night and Sunday. But don’t blame SEMA if the warning ends up seeming overblown.

Click on thumbnails below to enlarge the latest maps from the National Weather Service this afternoon:

NWS snowfall forecast for weekend 20190118 NWS ice forecast for weekend 20190118

This afternoon, SEMA’s Neal Aspesi shared:

The storm track is still teetering, making the exact snow, ice, rain line difficult to pin down.

We have gone between the 8-12 and 6-8 inches of snow mark in multiple forecasts over the last 24-hours…

The most current forecast has the track sneaking north just a bit bring the area of most concern for freezing rain and icing (0.25-0.50 inches) very close to our area. That said we are still in the 0.10-0.25 inch zone, of which I would predict us to be on higher end of the range.

The combination of heavy wet snow and ice will give us a pretty high potential of moderate+ damage and power outages. One the plus side, the snow should create a blanket before the freezing rain starts, reducing the chances of direct ice accretion on wires and trees. The snow blanket (and thus ice crust) should fall fairly quick from the high winds that will follow the storm.

If we lose power we will also have to be very concerned with the extreme cold, wind chills as low as (-)15 F, that will impact the area Sunday night through Tuesday. Not only will it be dangerously cold, but any snow not cleared will quickly become solid blocks of ice. (Long range outlook calls for rain the end of the week which could cause flooding from blocked drains and run off from the frozen snow & ground)

Hazards of greatest concern currently include:

  • Fire, Carbon Monoxide and electrical hazards associated with power outages, live power lines, generators and alternative methods of heating.
  • Traumatic and medical injuries from cleaning heavy snow, including; cardiac issues, back injuries and injuries related to the use of power equipment
  • Slips/falls on frozen snow (basically ice) and ice covered roads/walkways/etc., and injuries from falling debris (from the weight of snow/ice)

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