BOSTON (CBS) — It’s March Madness, New England-style!
Yes, it is coming – no last-second, right-hand turns, no building a wall to keep this one out, there will be a blizzard here Tuesday.
This storm will likely go down as one of the biggest, most impactful March storms ever to hit southern New England and the entire Northeast. There have only been a handful of March storms in Boston’s record history that have reached or topped a foot of snow – a rare but not unprecedented feat.
Here’s what you can expect:
8 a.m.- 4 p.m: The “meat” of the storm begins. Forgive the expression, but it will literally be puking snow during the daylight hours on Tuesday. Snowfall rates of 2-to-4 inches per hour at times will cause some roads to become near impassible. By 4 p.m., more than 80-percent of the entire snow accumulation will already be on the ground. This is also when the blizzard conditions are most likely to occur. Visibility will drop to near zero at times as the wind whips the snow around in a frenzy.
4 p.m.- 8 p.m: Snowfall rates will decrease, and there will likely be a “dry slot” that will move into parts of eastern Massachusetts. This is a common occurrence when a storm’s center tracks over southeastern Massachusetts. The precipitation will literally shut off right near the coast and over Cape Cod. At the same time, milder air will push in from the ocean, changing the snow to some sleet and perhaps even rain over eastern Massachusetts (likely inside I-495). Snow continues, but lighter over central and western Mass and southern New Hampshire.
After 8 p.m: Snow accumulation is essentially done in southern New England, just a few leftover snow bands or snow showers. All the accumulating snow is now up in central and northern New England.
1-3 inches: Nantucket. Sorry island snow lovers, you are just too far south and close to the center of the storm for much snow this time around
3-6 inches: All of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and extreme South Coast. Temperatures are milder here, snow is heavy and wet and there is a definite changeover to sleet and rain by the afternoon.
6-12 inches: Cape Ann, East Boston and the immediate South Shore coastline and inland Plymouth and Bristol counties. Again, milder temperatures here as a coastal front will likely set up, and some mixing likely in the afternoon in addition to the likelihood of a dry slot.
12-18 inches: Majority of southern New England away from the immediate coastline falls into this range. This will be a relatively fluffy-type snow, stacking up quickly. With the powerful winds it will also tend to blow and drift quite a bit.
18-24 inches: Tough to pinpoint the exact “jackpot” zone, but the best bet would be areas north and west of Boston including extreme northwest Middlesex County, Worcester County and southern New Hampshire, also in the Berkshires and Green/White Mountains. There will almost certainly be a few areas that approach 2 feet of snow from this nor’easter.
The winds will steadily increase in the morning hours on Tuesday and reach their peak between midday and early evening. Powerful northeast gusts will lead to widespread damage and power outages.
55-65 mph+ Cape Cod and the Islands. There could even be a gust to hurricane strength (74 mph).
45-55 mph along the entire east coast and in southeastern Massachusetts.
25-45 mph rest of the area, all inland locations.
Primary concern will be during the high tide Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Minor to pockets of moderate coastal flooding are likely in all east or northeast facing beaches.
We are anticipating a 2-to-3 foot storm surge, waves building over 20 feet just offshore and significant beach erosion.
A FEW OTHER THOUGHTS:
This storm will wreak havoc in the entire northeast corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston, causing major travel delays and cancellations for days. While the storm will be over by Wednesday morning, residual issues and cleanup will likely cause additional headaches.
Following this storm, it will be cold and windy for the remainder of the week, with highs in the 20’s and 30’s, so no major snow melt, at least not yet.
As always, stay with WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and CBSBoston.com for frequent updates throughout the storm!
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ