The Seacoast and especially the immediate coast are in the bullseye of the biggest snowstorm of the winter so far, with up to 18 inches of snow expected to fall starting Saturday.

After several days of low confidence in the track of the storm, meteorologists finally saw their models come together on Thursday, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Pohl.

"There was not a lot of confidence because there were so many different tracks out there amongst the models, and overnight they came together on one solution," Pohl told Seacoast Current.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for the immediate New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts coastline with a Winter Storm Warning for the rest of the Seacoast.

Blizzard Warnings have everything to do with wind and visibility and nothing to do with snow quantity, according to Pohl.

"The winds will be so much stronger right along the immediate coast. For a Blizzard Warning, you have to have sustained winds of 35 miles per hour for three hours or more," Pohl told Seacoast Current on Friday morning. "The other criteria is that visibility has to be under a quarter mile or below for three hours or more."

Here's what to expect from the nor'easter:

  • Snow: 12-18 inches for all areas starting Saturday morning and lasting until late Saturday night.  Snow could fall at a rate of 1-3 inches per hour.
  • Wind: Strong northeast winds will gust to at least 50 mph on the immediate coast and 35 mph inland, causing blowing and drifting snow
  • Tides: Pohl said tides are in a low astronomical cycle, which will lower the threat of coastal flooding. "While there will be some surges they will happen at the time of low tide, it really shouldn't be much of a problem for us," Pohl said. Hampton Fire Chief Michael McMahon told Seacoast Current he expects flooding on the lower end of the beach, especially along Brown Avenue, and advised staying out of high standing water.
  • Wind Chill: The wind will combine with bitterly cold temperatures in the 20s along the coast and the teens inland, to create a wind chill of 0.
Projected snow accumulation for Saturday's nor'easter 1/29
Projected snow accumulation for Saturday's nor'easter 1/29 (NWS)
loading...

Check Back for Parking bans and Service Impact Updates

In anticipation of poor road conditions, COAST will not run any service on Saturday and return to regular operations on Monday.

  • Amesbury - An on-street parking ban takes effect at midnight late Friday/early Saturday and ends at 7 a.m. on Sunday.
  • Dover - A citywide parking ban will be in effect from 8 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday.  A downtown parking ban starts at 10 p.m. Saturday and will be in effect until 10 a.m. Sunday.
  • Hampton - No on-street parking or parking in any public way from 1 a.m. Saturday until 3 p.m. Sunday.
  • Newburyport - A parking ban takes effect at 6 p.m. Friday until further notice.
  • Portsmouth - All recreation facilities including the Senior Activity Center, the Portsmouth Public Library, and the Recycling Center are closed.
  • Portsmouth - A snow parking ban is expected to take effect  at 1 a.m. Saturday. A special parking rate will be in effect.
  • Salisbury - recycling center is closed on Saturday and will instead open on Monday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
  • Somersworth - The public library will be closed on Saturday.
  • Somersworth - Citywide parking ban in effect (including downtown) from 1 a.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. Sunday.
  • Mass. RMV road tests for Saturday will be postponed.

The dry, powdery snow is not expected to weigh down tree limbs, but winds could cause outages and slow restoration efforts, according to Unitil spokesman Alec O'Meara.

“Should we experience blizzard conditions, travel will be difficult on the road and bucket trucks are unable to extend their arms safely due to the elevated wind gusts,” O’Meara said. “While these conditions may delay restoration efforts, we are prepared for this storm and our crews will be ready to go should outages occur.”

If conditions warrant, Uniti could also use its brand new 35-foot-long, 11,000-pound mobile command center. This reduces the time it takes to receive and process information from the field, as many functions can be handled directly from the unit.

Unitil's new mobile command center
Unitil's new mobile command center (Unitil)
loading...

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

A Tour of Maine's Incredible Lighthouses From Kittery to the Midcoast

Lighthouses are not only iconic, they are living history. We are fortunate to have countless lighthouse still standing and operating. While many are iconic tourist destinations, it hasn't changed the fact that they still stand to protect vulnerable ships and sailors.

Here is a look at some of those iconic Maine lighthouses in the southern part of the state up to the midcoast.