AFTERNOON UPDATE

Not much has changed in the forecast for Thursday. We are still expecting a moderate-size snowstorm, but the heaviest snow will remain over southern New England.

Generally, the heaviest snow will fall after the Thursday morning commute and into the first part of the evening. Flights in an out of the Portland International Jetport, Logan Airport and the metro New York/New Jersey area will all be affected in some way.

You should plan on difficult travel Thursday. I expect winds to increase along the coastline and very difficult travel conditions are possible for a few hours in coastal York County as that area will be closest to the storm.

Thursday’s tides will be among the highest of the month. This means some coastal splashover is possible at high tide in the late morning and perhaps again in the evening.

Portland will likely end up with just over 6 inches of snow, although if the storm wobbles a bit closer to the coast, that total could reach 8 or 9 inches. Less is expected to the north and west. I’ll have another update early Thursday as the storm gets underway.

The heaviest snow will fall over coastal York County and Down East from this storm. Dave Epstein

Temperatures will be quite cold, although not excessively so, during the snowstorm.  This means the snow will be light and fluffy and very easy to move around.

Winds along the coastline will blow the snow into drifts, but this is not going to be a blockbuster snowstorm, more like a typical February nor’easter.

Temperatures will be in the lower to mid-20s during the snowstorm. Dave Epstein

FEBRUARY USUALLY BRINGS STORMS

February often brings some of the biggest storms of the winter, partially a result of the growing contrast between spring warmth to the south and the deep cold still to the north. For instance, temperatures Tuesday afternoon reached near 70 across parts of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, while southern Maine was in the teens.

As storms grow, they are fueled by this contrast in temperature. The bigger the temperature contrast these winter storms have available, the stronger they can become.

Thursday’s storm will eventually become quite intense, but it’s also going to be moving rather fast, precluding a blockbuster event. Thursday’s storm track is going to be critical to determine how much snow Maine receives. A closer pass to the coast could bring well over 6 inches of snow, while a pass farther out to sea will limit snow totals.

The map below from the combined National Weather Service offices across the Northeast gives a good picture of how much snow will fall. Notice the heaviest snow is south of Maine.

Behind this weather system, a cold and bright day is on tap for Friday. There won’t be much melting, with temperatures in the teens and 20s.

Snow will redevelop Thursday after a spring-like day Wednesday.