A major winter storm is heading for the Boston area and some are calling it a storm of historic proportions. We don’t know if that will be true as yet, but please do not let your guard down on this potential blockbuster of a storm. Yes, there have been several near misses last year and big disappoints for the snow lovers out there, over the past two winters. All of that means nothing now as this system will not miss. It is only a matter of how bad it will be.
Terms like heavy snow, blizzard conditions, strong and damaging winds, coastal flooding and power outages are all in the mix for this storm. Hurricane force wind gusts could occur south of our area, over Cape Cod and the islands. Elsewhere along the eastern Massachusetts coastline the wind is expected to gust to 60 mph. These strong winds will force the ocean waters to pound the coastline and cause significant drifting of snow away from the coast. Speaking of snow, amounts of one to two feet are possible and perhaps even more west of Route 128.
A strong high pressure system to our north is pushing cold air into the region today and will continue to feed the area with very chilly air into Saturday. Meanwhile, low pressure will push into the Great Lakes, with a secondary coastal storm developing off the Mid-Atlantic coast Friday. This secondary low quickly becomes the main feature in this event as it develops and intensifies rapidly. Moving northeastward to a position southeast of Nantucket Island late Friday night into early Saturday morning and with the cold high to our north, we have a classic set up for a major winter storm.
Light snow breaks out Friday morning, possibly during the morning commute. The morning hours should be alright for travel but then the snow starts to pick up and becomes steadier and heavier during the afternoon. The worst conditions should be upon us by late afternoon and evening and last throughout the night. This will be when the winds are strongest, snow falls at 1 to perhaps 3 inches an hour and travel could be near impossible. It will not be a time to venture outdoors, especially in a motor vehicle.
Coastal flooding is a concern and those along the coast need to continue to pay close attention to updates on this potential for Friday and Friday night. The time of high tide along the North Shore is roughly mid morning and again at about 9 pm Friday night.
High winds will certainly cause damage to trees and power lines. Be prepared for power outages as scattered outages are likely.
There is some question if areas south of us mix with rain for a time. It is very doubtful that will happen in the metro Boston or northern and western suburbs.
Short Term Forecast:
Tonight: Skies cloud over and light snow could break out by morning. Quite cold again, with low temperatures 17 to 21 degrees. Light winds.
Friday: Light snow early, will become steadier and heavier later in the day. Highs 29 to 33. Increasing easterly winds, gusting to near 40 mph along the coast by late in the day. Several inches of snow may fall during the afternoon hours.
Friday night and Saturday: Snow, heavy at times, very windy with blizzard conditions probable. Significant drifting and blowing snow, with snowfall rates of 1 to 3 inches per hour possible at times. Temperatures fall to around 20 degrees at night and only rise a few degrees Saturday. East to northeast winds gusting up to 60 mph, especially near and along the coast. Conditions begin to wind down Saturday afternoon with snow easing and winds diminishing. Snow totals of 14 to 24 inches are possible, with the highest amounts along and west of Route 128.
Saturday night: Partly cloudy, windy and very cold. Lows 8 to 12.