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Track Of Saturday Storm Uncertain, But Snow Is On The Way

Terry Eliasen, WBZ-TV Executive Weather Producer
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BOSTON (CBS) – What do you do? What do you do when 48 hours before a potential storm there are literally at least three different viable solutions? What do you do when the model you have trusted like your best friend, the one that guided you through the Blizzard of 2013 consistently says, “no big deal,” while several other weather models, like an annoying group of “cool kids” on the playground are screaming at you: ”We have changed our minds, there is a big storm coming this weekend, trust us!”

Check: Saturday Scenarios |Interactive Radar | Forecast Maps | Current Conditions

Our first inclination is to stick with our best buddy and tune out the cool kids, however, when some of your friends start defecting it sure makes you wonder.

Meteorologically speaking both solutions make sense. It all comes down to the development of a storm offshore from New England. It IS going to happen, that is not in question, AND eventually it IS going to blow up into a very large and powerful storm. In fact all models have an absolute bomb of a storm near Nova Scotia late this weekend. But how we get from here to there is the complicated part.

Scenario 1 would keep the storm off the coast.

Scenario 1 would keep the storm off the coast.

A cold front is currently cutting through the upper Midwest and over the course of the next 24 hours a weak wave of low pressure is going to form along it, somewhere near southern Ohio. Then things get interesting… how quickly will this storm develop into a monster and how much of this development will we catch as it passes by? And oh yeah, what will the exact track of the storm be, how far offshore will the storm be when it intensifies?

Scenario 2 would mean higher accumulations.

Scenario 2 would mean higher accumulations.

We likely won’t know all the answers to these questions for another 24 hours. You can take jabs at the meteorologist for not being able to forecast a storm two days from now, we fully understand and expect that. But sometimes the atmospheric setup is simply too complex to forecast. No matter how many trillion calculations per second the weather supercomputers are making, it just isn’t enough sometimes to accurately forecast the ocean of air above us and its movements over the coming days.

What we do know is that there will be some snow on Saturday.

Scenario 1 would mean lower accumulations.

Scenario 1 would mean lower accumulations.

If the weaker solution ends up happening, it would be 1-3” or perhaps 2-4” mainly inland, during the late morning and afternoon on Saturday…a quick shot of snow with some rain mixing in near the coast.

If the stronger solution comes to pass, the timeline would be shifted a bit later, with most of the snow occurring Saturday evening/night. Snow amounts could easily reach 6-12” in this scenario and would blanket most of Southern New England, no rain/snow line.

Scenario 2 would mean 6-12" inches for more of Southern New England.

Scenario 2 would mean 6-12″ inches for more of Southern New England.

Those are your options, as of now…a lot of work to do and maps to study in the next 24 hours. If you are traveling this weekend, the earlier the better. If you can get out early Saturday morning or better yet, Friday night, go for it…don’t risk waiting. If you have no choice but to travel Saturday night or Sunday morning, best I can say is stay tuned and prepare for the possibility of another significant snow storm.

You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.

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