'A lot of people are going to remember this week'.

AuthorFortier, Bill

Byline: Bill Fortier

If all of the forecasts are correct, today is a day to sit at home and watch the snow pile up in your yard.

Worcester County, from Worcester south and east, was placed in a blizzard warning as a predicted 2 feet of snow, coupled with strong northeast winds, will reduce visibility to near zero at times. While the area north and west of Worcester is expecting as much snow, the winds won't be as strong and visibility will be better.

In an email Sunday, Channel 5 chief meteorologist Harvey Leonard said that in terms of wind and snow this storm could be the Blizzard of 1978 revisited. In an email Monday afternoon, Mr. Leonard elaborated on the comparison.

"This will not necessarily be the biggest storm to ever hit Worcester County,'' he said, noting that Worcester had 33 inches of snow in the April Fool's storm in 1997. "The Blizzard of '78 had coastal devastation, and I would hope and believe this won't be quite to the level of that.''

In fact, the Blizzard of '78 dropped 20.2 inches of snow at Worcester Regional Airport, which places it just at number 11 on the list of the biggest snowstorms in the city's history. However, there were unofficial reports of up to 3 feet of snow in Milford and the Blackstone Valley near the Rhode Island line. Those differences could be attributed to bands of snowfall during severe winter storms that deposit huge amounts of snow in one area and less a few miles away.

"Jackpot areas are most difficult to pinpoint,'' Mr. Leonard said in the Monday email. "I did pick Worcester County as one area and the North Shore and South Shore as another area, but I still feel 18 to 24 may be the widespread average across southern New England.''

"I think Harvey has it exactly right,'' said climatologist Joseph S. D'Aleo, the co-chief meteorologist at Weatherbell Analytics, who was a classmate of Mr. Leonard at New York University. "When you consider the snow, the wind, the very poor visibility and the cold temperatures, this storm will remind people who were around during the Blizzard of '78 very much of that storm.''


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