BOSTON (CBS) -- This ocean storm has been an enigma from the get-go as it has been blocked by an area of strong high pressure across eastern Canada. It was supposed to relax its grip on New England, enabling the storm to wobble closer and release the copious amounts of rain over southeastern New England with much less rain farther north and west of Boston. Consequently, it has been a dry Nor'easter so far for much of the region except southeastern Mass. and especially Nantucket, which has received over 3" of rain.
The National Hurricane Center said Friday morning that the nor'easter has become subtropical storm Melissa, but there are no changes to the forecast.
The high pressure system is now weakening and as that trend continues to unfold, it appears that the stage is set for some bands of rain to pinwheel onto the coastal plain, then penetrate farther north and west of Boston as the day progresses. I am not expecting that much rain but occasional to periodic showers SHOULD produce damp conditions especially midday through the evening.
As the storm center wobbles farther away, it will actually spread out more so the bands of showers have a shot at arriving onto the Maine coastal plain into central New Hampshire and out as far as the Connecticut River Valley of Mass. through tonight into early tomorrow. That will be followed by a gradual drying process leading to just cloudy weather tomorrow morning through midday with some brightening later tomorrow afternoon.
Additional rainfall through this Friday into early tomorrow should amount to nothing more than enough to wet the ground up to a few hundredths of an inch from central Mass. to central N.H. and interior Maine ranging up to a couple tenths of an inch closer to the coast of N.H. and Maine with the highest totals maybe near an inch on some South Shore communities and Cape Cod.
A spreading out of the storm means the wind field will also expand farther north and west of Boston so a more brisk breeze with some gusts past 15-25 mph may penetrate areas from central Mass. to central N.H. to interior Maine with higher gusts onto the coastal plain. The strongest winds up to 30-45 mph will occur from Cape Ann through Boston to the South Shore with gusts up to 40-50 mph on Cape Cod and the Islands where a Wind Advisory is posted by the National Weather Service until 6 p.m. today.
The sea remains angry thanks to the persistent strong northeasterly wind blowing across the Gulf of Maine over the past few days. The buoys are indicating wave heights just offshore at 10-15 feet this morning and up to 25 feet well offshore. No widespread flooding is anticipated through the high tide averaging around 10:30 this morning. Some splashover at the usual vulnerable shore roads is possible but that is it due to a scheduled height of 9.4 ft. with a bit of enhancement from the wind and waves. Beach erosion will continue through tonight's 11 p.m. high tide. Wind and wave action will gradually decrease later tonight and the wind will become much lighter during tomorrow.
LEAF PEEPING/ HOLIDAY WEEKEND:
This is the weekend to check out the fall foliage extravaganza. There is peak color across much of northern New England with some of the highest elevation places a bit past peak. You will see areas of brilliant, vibrant color mixed with areas of more muted color but, overall, it is the best color in several years according to many of our spotters. I witnessed stunning color last weekend up in Crawford Notch & Bretton Woods in the vicinity of the Presidential Range.
While some leaf drop has been occurring, the wind, fortunately, has not been strong up there to strip the leaves off the trees so there will be plenty to see and the weather will be cooperative through the entire holiday weekend. There is just a chance of a few spotty light showers or touches of mist over some of the mountains tomorrow morning and perhaps a late day shower on Monday, otherwise expect varying amounts of sunshine through Columbus Day.
As always, we urge that you stay tuned to forecast updates on WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and now CBSN Boston!
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