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Boston weather: A cornucopia of winter weather for Wednesday

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Forecast discussion: Earlier Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service upgraded eastern Massachusetts to a Winter Storm Warning, from midnight to 6 p.m. Wednesday. However, for Vineyard Haven (formerly known as Martha’s Vineyard), a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect. The island is only expecting to see up to 2-4 inches of snow. For Boston, however, the capital city will be seeing a lot more.

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So, what can eastern Massachusetts expect? Well, the computer models have been very consistent with the precipitation shield moving into Southern New England. The snow will move into Rhode Island from 3 to 5 a.m. The snow should begin to move into eastern Massachusetts between 5 to 7 a.m., just in time for the morning commute. The snow will be coming down in a moderate to heavy snowfall, so we could see 1-2 inches per hour. This will make for a messy morning commute because the snowflakes will be wet, unlike the dry, fluffy snow we have received in the last few storms.

As the morning continues, some warmer air will begin to move into the southern and eastern parts of the state. So, the snow will slowly mix with some sleet in the late morning, especially in Bristol and Plymouth Counties. The Cape and Islands will eventually see a mix of freezing rain and then mixing or changing to rain by the early afternoon. Boston itself will see a mix of sleet with snow by the early afternoon, before changing over to sleet. By the evening commute, colder air will return from north to south, changing the precipitation back to snow showers.

Of course, this will cause several delays and cancellations. For information on parking bans, please click here. For school cancellations or delays, click here. So, what will be the final snowfall totals? For Boston, I’m seeing about 6-10 inches, although there could be isolated reports of a foot around the suburbs. For Bristol and Plymouth Counties, I am seeing 3-6 inches, thanks to a mixing of sleet and freezing rain. The Cape and Islands will only see 2-4 inches, as they changed over to freezing rain and rain by the afternoon.
As we head into Thursday, high pressure over the north Central U.S. will take over our weather pattern. The high will keep any storm systems away from Southern New England. Sadly, temperatures will be just below freezing for highs, so we will not see much melting. Eventually, the high will move offshore, allowing for another possible system to bring more snowfall, starting on Sunday.
The computer models continue to disagree on the low’s track, and the intensity of the low. Right now, the American model has the worst case scenario. The low’s center would be just over Newport Sunday night into Monday morning. We would remain on the colder side, and we would be seeing gusty winds. At this time, it appears the precipitation would remain snow through the majority of the time. However, this is still about four and a half days out, so things can definitely change. I will continue to watch the models, and update you on any significant changes in their thinking. By late Monday night, all precipitation ends, with partly sunny skies expected for next Tuesday. However, my confidence in the forecast after Sunday afternoon is still low.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Cloudy skies with snow starting between 5-7 a.m. Snow will be moderate to heavy, with 1-2 inches per hour possible. We will see a low of 26.
Wednesday: Moderate to heavy snow continues in the morning. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. a mix of sleet and freezing rain work into Bristol and Plymouth Counties northward. The south coast will see freezing rain mixing or changing over to rain in the early afternoon. Precipitation will change back to snow showers north to south around 6 p.m. We will see a high of 34 with east-northeast winds of 13-17 mph.
Wednesday night: Flurries and isolated snow showers end by 2 a.m. We will see a low of 20 with north-northwest winds at 10-13 mph.
Thursday: Mostly sunny with a high of 29.
Thursday night: Partly cloudy and much colder with a low of 14.
Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 28.
Friday night: Partly cloudy with a low of 14.

Extended Forecast:
Saturday: Mostly sunny. Highs 29-32, lows 16-19.
Sunday: increasing clouds through morning, with overcast skies with light snow falling by 5 p.m. Highs 31-34, lows 18-21.
Monday: Moderate to heavy snow by 1 a.m. with strong winds. Snow becomes lighter by the start of the evening commute. Highs 28-31, lows 12-15.
Tuesday: Snow ends by 2 a.m. with partly sunny skies. Highs 24-27, lows 10-13.

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