BOSTON (CBS) – A powerful nor’easter is bearing down on southern New England and a blizzard warning has been extended to Boston and all of eastern Massachusetts.
The blizzard warning began at 9 a.m. Thursday and goes through 8 p.m. What does this mean? We are expecting snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour at times for much of the area.
Combine that with steady winds 25-35 mph, gusting to 50 mph and you get near-white out conditions at times. Needless to say, driving within the blizzard-warned areas is NOT recommended and should be avoided at all costs.
The remainder of Massachusetts is under a winter storm warning.
While winds won’t be as strong away from the coast, intense snow bands and some blowing and drifting of the light and fluffy snow will create extremely hazardous conditions from late morning through the evening on Thursday.
Snow began falling between 5-9 a.m. from west to east across the region and soon thereafter came down hard and fast. Within a few hours roads were snow covered.
The brunt of the storm will be between now and 5 p.m., call it a “workday storm.” Snowfall rates 2-to-3 inches per hour at times within some of the heavier bands.
Storm tapers off between 6-9 p.m., ending first to the west and last on Cape Cod.
Much of southern New England will end up with more than a foot of snow from this event.
We’ve added a 14-to-18 inch contour for most of eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, Worcester and Providence.
Where the most intense bands of snow set up, locally higher amounts will be possible – and we’re thinking Plymouth County is the likely spot for this scenario.
Elsewhere, a widespread 8-to-14 inches is expected, even on Cape Cod where the consistency of the snow will be heavier. Nantucket should see 4-to-8 inches and amounts will taper off across far northern New England.
A classic nor’easter means the winds are coming out of the northeast for most of Thursday, turning to the north by evening.
Wind gusts could reach near hurricane force on the outer Cape.
In Boston and along the coastline to the north, wind gusts will range between 35-50 mph through the day.
A bit less gusty inland, however some gusts could reach 20-35 mph away from the coast.
With a full “snow” moon coming on Friday, the tides will be astronomically quite high during the storm, reaching over 11 feet in Boston Thursday morning.
The good news here is that the strongest onshore winds with this storm will largely come between high tide cycles (Thursday afternoon). Our morning high tide is between 9-10 a.m. (just as the storm is starting) and our nighttime high tide is between 10-11 p.m. (as the storm is pulling away and winds are turning northerly).
Even so, there likely will be some minor flooding/splashover during Thursdays high tides.
A bitter blast of air wraps around the back side of the storm, dropping our temperatures into the single digits Thursday night into Friday morning. Combined with the wind, real feel values will be sub-zero in many communities Friday morning.
High temperatures will only top out in the teens Friday afternoon, with wind chill values in the single digits at the “warmest” time of the day.
Stay tuned to WBZ-TV on-air and online for the very latest on the storm.