By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) – Wasn’t it nice to wake up on Christmas morning to some light snow falling? Just enough to get you in the holiday spirit but not nearly enough to cause any headaches getting to grandma’s house.

Well, if you are one of the many people coming back to work on Thursday for a short work week you may be in for a bit of snap back to reality. A major winter storm is on the way to New England, one that has ravaged the South with numerous tornadoes and covered much of the Midwest in blizzard conditions…thankfully there will be no blizzard or tornado warnings here, but a messy mix of rain, snow and wind.

Snow breaks out after 8pm tonight from south to north. After a quick burst that may whiten the ground, it will quickly change to rain in all of SE Massachusetts…the extreme South Coast including Cape Cod and the Islands will never have a chance, too warm for anything but rain. Along the immediate Coastline, Boston included, the snow will last no longer than an hour or two before flipping to rain there as well.

Elsewhere, inland and to the north and west of Boston, snow will come down heavy at times all night long, an inch per hour in spots. Roads will become snow covered very fast and travel conditions will rapidly deteriorate. The rain/snow line will make northward progress overnight and by the morning commute on Thursday it should be just about on 495 stretching from about Lawrence to Lowell to Worcester…anywhere to the east of the line will be rain…to the west will be snow. We expect the nearby suburbs of Boston including all the communities around 128 to get 1-3” of snow before changing over to rain. Closer to 495 (north and west) we expect 3-6” of snowfall before the change. The jackpot (locally) for snowfall will be in northern Worcester County and in Southern New Hampshire, where the snow will hang on until Thursday morning and accumulate 6-10”. The true “jackpot” will be in the ski areas, in Central and Northern New England…a solid 8-16” will be the best Christmas present a skier could ask for!

We will continue to warm in Southern New England during Thursday morning and it will be raining everywhere by mid to late morning and also beginning to taper off to showers. There shouldn’t be much evidence of snowfall until you get up near 495 and farther northwest, the rest washed away by rain and milder temperatures.

The is one final concern along the Coast and in southeastern Massachusetts, the wind. Winds will gust as high as 50-60mph off the Ocean, peaking from about 4-10am. This could lead to some scattered power outages and tree damage. There may also be some localized flooding due to 1-2” of rainfall. East facing beaches will also get a bit of minor splashover near high tide (10am Thursday), but thankfully tides are not astronomically high.


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