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Major Nor’easter To Make Dangerously Close Pass

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BOSTON (CBS) — Ahhh … spring time in New England. Isn’t it lovely? The melting snow, the animals emerging from their winter slumber, the sound of birds chirping in the morning … and of course, the blizzard watch over Cape Cod and the Islands.

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There appears to be at least one more chapter in our ongoing novel, “2013-2014: The Winter That Just Won’t End.” A major nor’easter is about to make a dangerously close pass by Southern New England in the next 48 hours. More than 90 percent of this storm will be over the open Atlantic, fish food, it’s just that other 5 to 10 percent that has us concerned.

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In the next 24 hours, this storm will go from a little wave of low pressure off Florida to a monster storm spanning several hundred miles across. Southern New England will be on the extreme western edge of this beast as it passes by. So, those areas most susceptible to getting clipped by its fury will be locations that jut out eastward into the ocean, namely Cape Cod and Nantucket.

The timeline

Some light snow will begin to fall between 8 p.m. and midnight over southernmost sections. But this storm really won’t get cranking until after midnight Tuesday.

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Snow will overspread the area from south to north between midnight and 5 a.m. Wednesday. In all likelihood, it will be a snowy and messy morning commute for most, especially those traveling in parts of Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.

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The “peak” of the storm will be during Wednesday morning from about 5 a.m. through midday. This is when the storm will make its closest pass and when the heaviest snow and strongest winds will occur. This is also when periods of whiteout conditions (therefore the blizzard watch) will exist over Cape Cod and the Islands .

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Farther up the coastline, in Boston and points north and west, the snow should be fairly light and the winds not nearly as strong. The morning commute will still be snowy and many roads will be whitened, however the impact will not be nearly as severe.

Thankfully, the storm will move quickly. By afternoon, the center of the storm will be headed for Nova Scotia and any snow left over southern New England will be tapering off from west to east.

Snowfall projections

Projecting snowfall totals for this one is very tough. Clearly the greatest amount of snow will be over Cape Cod and the Islands. The possibility exists for 6 to 12 inches of snow over this region. However, just a 50-mile shift in this storm could mean much less snow down there and that is still a distinct possibility.

Over parts of Southeastern Massachusetts, including Plymouth and Bristol Counties, about 3 to 6 inches of snow are likely, but again minor shifts to the final track of this storm will make a big difference.

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In Boston and areas north and west, this should be a minor event with light snowfall accumulation of 3 inches or less.

Strong north-northeast winds and a near average high tide cycle will mean some light to perhaps moderate coastal flooding along the north facing beaches of Cape Cod Bay and over the outer arm of Cape Cod and Nantucket during Wednesday’s 8 a.m. high tide.

With such a sharp gradient of projected snowfall amounts over our area and a storm this large passing nearby, the margin for error here is greater than normal. A minor wobble west or east by this monster storm and snowfall amounts could change dramatically. So I guess what I am saying is: Stay tuned!

There is a silver lining! Whatever snow does fall will not stick around very long. By the end of the week and this weekend, temperatures will top 50 degrees and the snow will be just a bad memory.

And, I will leave you with this thought: There is a good chance that this will be our last significant snow event of this long winter.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

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