It has been a long time. You would have to go back to February 2011 for our last real significant snowfall!
Light snow will begin as early as later this morning/midday across the region. Little accumulation is expected during the daylight hours, perhaps a coating to an inch or so. Even a wet mix with right at the coast with easterly winds off the 47 degree water. The intensity will pick up in a big way by sunset heading into this evening after 6pm…snowfall rates could exceed an inch an hour between 7pm and 1am tonight. Two pieces of energy will be merging off our south coast with a developing low which should begin to strengthen just south of Nantucket.
A wide swath of 4-8″ of snow will cover most of Southern New England by Sunday morning. Watch out for some slippery travel Sunday morning…before the treatment settles in. There is the potential for a flash freeze early Sunday morning. Best chance of seeing higher amounts will be in parts of inland southeastern Massachusetts, a few miles away from the Coast…6-10″ is likely in these areas, coming in bands rotating northward over southeastern Massachusetts along a coastal front. In fact, if everything comes together just right this storm coud bomb to a 970 mb low and we could be looking at some surorise totals close to a foot along with some stronger winds at the coast. This would not surprise me the way this forecast has been going.
This front will be a boundary separating the milder marine air from the cold heavy polar air in place inland away from the coast. This front will be a trigger for lift set up across eastern MA tonight. Heavy bands of snow usually fall just to the west of the coastal front and can lead to whiteout conditions. Latest model data is showing these bands setting up across SE MA and eastern MA with the peak of the storm between 7 PM tonight through 2 AM Sunday.
Slight lower amounts will be found farther north in New Hampshire and Vermont, but due to the light and fluffy nature of the snow, a “fluff factor” could make what would be a couple inches accumulate to 4″ or so. That is some good news…for the most past the snow will be light and fluffy and easily shoveled or plowed. The exception to this would be along the immediate Coastline from the South Shore down to the Cape where mild winds off the Ocean will actually cause some mixing and keep snow totals a bit lighter. Over Cape Cod, enough mixing should occur to significantly lower totals to a few sloppy, slushy inches at most…but there is a chance for a burst of snow later this evening which could add up the snow especially towards the Canal.
Winds will be a bit gusty on the immediate Coastline and especially over Cape Cod tonight…Gusts will reach 20-40mph in those locations, elsewhere wind will not be a factor and certainly nothing like what happened with our last storm after Christmas. Not too concerned about coastal flooding either, tides are lower than they were a few days ago and due to the quick movement of the storm, only one high tide cycle will be affected, just after midnight tonight.
It advised to avoid travel tonight and stay off the roads. They will quickly become snow covered and become very slick. Visibility will be reduced to near zero in these intense bands of snow which are expected.
Cold blustery NW winds will funnel in on the backside of this storm with clearing Skies Sunday. Highs will be in the 20′s to near 30 but wind chills will be in teens as winds will gust over 30. A quieter stretch of weather for the week ahead with no storms, but we will see a few weak fronts pushing through which will give reinforcing shots of colder air. By the end of the week, arctic air will be in place where highs will struggle to get out of the teens by Friday. A cold frigid start to 2013. The cold should ease a bit by mid month. Stay safe and Happy New Year!