A major winter storm is heading for the southern and eastern New England area and some are calling it a storm of historic proportions, especially in the eastern half of the Commonwealth. 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. 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 over coastal southeast Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the islands. Although winds in the Springfield area will not quite match the higher gusts close to and along the coast, there will be enough wind to cause significant blowing and drifting of snow locally. Snowfall totals are likely going to exceed a foot and possibly up to around 18 inches for some of us.
A strong high pressure system to our north is pushing cold air into the region 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 early Friday morning, probably 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 mid to late afternoon and last throughout the night. This will be when the winds are strongest, snowfall at 1 to perhaps 2 inches an hour and travel could be very difficult. It will not be a time to venture outdoors, especially in a motor vehicle.
High winds will certainly cause damage to trees and power lines. Be prepared for power outages as scattered outages are likely.
Short Term Forecast:
Tonight: Skies cloud over and light snow could break out by morning. Quite cold again, with low temperatures 15 to 19 degrees. Light winds.
Friday: Light snow early, will become steadier and heavier in the afternoon. Highs 29 to 33. Increasing northeast winds, gusting to near 30 mph in the afternoon. Snowfall of 2 to 4 inches likely by evening.
Friday night and Saturday: Snow, heavy at times, winding down by Saturday afternoon. Flurries may continue into late afternoon. Significant drifting and blowing snow, with snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour possible at times. Temperatures fall to 16 to 20 degrees at night and only rise a few degrees Saturday. Winds from the north will gust to near 40 mph into midday Saturday, diminishing some during the afternoon. Snow totals from 12 to 18 inches likely.
Saturday night: A few clouds, windy and very cold. Lows near zero to 5 above.
Sunday: Sunshine, cold and windy. Highs 27 to 31.