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By Todd Gutner WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Todd Gutner Todd Gutner
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BOSTON (CBS) – It may be quiet now but it won’t be over the weekend.

Winter Storm Watches are now up from the National Weather Service for Saturday night and Sunday morning.

A weak cold front will slide in this afternoon with a flurry but more importantly it will thoroughly establish the arctic air here in New England.  This will set the table for our weekend storm leading to lots of snow.  The trend over the last 24 hours is for an increase in moisture and while the mid-levels still aren’t that impressive the upper levels (jet-stream level) all of a sudden is much more favorable for generating lift and therefore precip.

Then the question becomes – Will all the precipitation stay snow or will it mix?

That answer is a little more difficult.

The cold high will do a very good job of locking in cold, but it does retreat enough to allow some warming to work in.  It’s just going to take a long time to see the flip to sleet or even rain in a few spots.  There are signs that the warming aloft will make it all the way to the Massachusetts Turnpike.

While that seems a bit overdone I can see it getting close especially with the closer track of the surface and mid-level low thus at least some sleet will mix in by Sunday morning.

The warming will be aided by mid-40 degree ocean water as well and even a NE wind is coming in off the water thus warming much of the immediate coastline where some rain will be seen Sunday morning as well.

Regardless of the mixing, it won’t occur until the storm is practically over, so there will still be a solid helping of snow for the coast too.

With that said, W&NW there won’t be mixing and it’s pretty much a pure snow event where amounts should range from 6-to-10 inches with an outside chance of getting a foot.

North Shore coastline, Boston, South Shore and much of SE Mass will see a 3-to-6 inch snowfall.  The Cape and Islands will get 1-3 inches followed by a dose of rain making for a sloppy mess come Sunday morning.

Here’s some good news – while there will still be a few lingering drops and flakes after 9 a.m. Sunday, the storm is essentially gone and you can get back to that holiday shopping (or watching football).

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