By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

October 28, 2011
BOSTON (CBS) – A major nor’easter is about to pound southern New England with heavy rain, snow and wind.

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In more than 100 years of record keeping in Boston the most snow the city has ever seen in the month of October is 1.1 inches, six years ago on October 29, 2005.

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This storm is almost certain to be one for the record books in all of southern New England.

Check: WBZ-TV Forecast Maps


The precipitation will begin Saturday afternoon between 3 and 5 p.m., as mainly rain for all of eastern Massachusetts, a mix in higher elevations to the west.

The intensity of the precipitation will increase rapidly over the next several hours and the rain-snow line will collapse to the south and east as colder air is drawn into the deepening storm on shifting winds to the north.

By midnight, it will be snowing just about everywhere with the exception of southeastern Mass. where it will continue to rain very heavily.

The rain-snow line will collapse further southeast to around the Cape Cod Canal in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday morning before the storm system pulls away and the precipitation shuts off just after dawn.


In October, there are many factors working against big accumulating snowfall including a very warm Atlantic Ocean and an unfrozen, mild ground surface.

This storm will be so intense it should be able to overcome these typical October atmospheric issues and draw down very cold air from aloft.

The highest snow totals will be in the higher elevated areas including Worcester County, southwestern New Hampshire, the Berkshires and many of the mountains of central and northern New England.

These areas, above 1,000 feet in elevation could easily see 6-to-10 inches of snowfall from this event.

Areas closer to Interstate 495 would likely fall in the 3-to-6 inch range and closer to the coast including the city of Boston 1-to-3 inches.

These totals could shift based upon the timing of the rain-snow change, if it occurs faster in eastern Massachusetts the totals could go higher.


Areas southeast of Boston and Providence will receive very heavy rainfall, many towns exceeding 2”. This will result in urban and poor drainage flooding and cause many rivers and streams to rise near bankful.


Strong NE-N winds will batter the coastline, with gusts 25-to-50 mph.

Inland locations could see frequent gusts 25-to-35 mph.

This could pose a significant problem coupled with the heavy, wet snow and lots of foliage still on the trees.

Tree and limb damage is almost certain and numerous power outages are expected.

There will be a major leaf drop with this storm as well.

Most of southern New England will go from near peak foliage conditions to bare in the span of 12 hours.


The storm is coming during a new moon phase and very high astronomical tides.

The good news is that the high tides times do not seem to line up with the brunt of the storm and northeast winds.

High tides are at 1:30 p.m.  Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday – the very beginning and tail end of the storm.

This will prevent what could have been a major coastal flooding event.

Minor coastal flooding is still likely during both high tide cycles for all of east coastal Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands.

Watch Todd Gutner’s Forecast:

This storm will be far reaching and will affect the entire East Coast.

Hartford, New York City, Philadelphia and even Baltimore and Washington, D.C. could see a mix and change to snow after a heavy dose of rainfall.

You can follow Terry Eliasen on Twitter at @TerryWBZ .

Comments (66)
  1. SierraBill says:


    Hyannis 0 inches
    Boston 1.5 inches
    Worcester 3.5 inches
    Springfield 7 inches
    JACKPOT: Savoy 8.25 inches

    1. bikertrash says:

      Is Ozone Al Gore there this weekend?

      1. FNTM says:

        Al generally keeps a low profile during times like this.


      3. lafingatidiots says:

        Sitting at home laughing at idiots like you who come out from under your rocks at times like this.

  2. Kev@bathroomfitters says:

    Hyannis: 0 inches
    Boston 4 inches
    Worcester 7 inches
    Springfield 9 inches
    jackpot springfield 9 inches

    1. HTerry says:

      Boston < 1"
      Springfield 6"
      Pittsfield 10"

      1. Old Salty says:

        boston wont get any snow
        worcester will get 6 inches

        i think it will be too warm wtht he ocean

  3. BaBaBooeyFaFaFohi says:

    im 30 years old and i dont ever remember a halloween with snow on the ground. i live in taunton

    1. HulkHogan1988 says:

      Seems like the trend on Halloweens has been warmer in the recent past. Last Holloween I Trick or Treated was 91″ during the perfect storm. the streets were empty it was a huge bonus. I also got sprayed with mase

  4. Italo says:

    I recall all types of weather conditions on Halloweens over the years — really cold and dry, very mild and windy, pouring rain and, although maybe not right on that night, certainly snow squalls or some snow events in October here in there: in October in our region, it happens.

    I don’t see a January-type snowstorm for us Saturday night. At most, possibly the wraparound slush leftover stuff near the Boston coastal areas like Melissa’s blog references.

    Also, sometimes it seems when we get early onset very cold or snow weather spells, these can be followed by quiet late falls but suddenly strong beginnings of winter: get out the weather safety belts!

    1. WesWelkerFan says:

      Snow in October & November is usually a sign of a mild dry winter ahead. Remember, it snowed in Oct two years ago during the Patriots/Titans game and that winter saw very little snow.

  5. HulkHogan1988 says:

    I just think we’ll have a slow start to winter. obviously the early snow would lead one to believe this is going to be a hell of a ride but thats arguable. I remember into early december last year people were calling the winter a BUST. And from Dec 14 – Jan 22 it was going to be an epic winter that shattered all time records. And then from the last week in January through the rest of the winter/spring it didn’t snow at all. I’m wondering if our wet Aug/Sep/Oct will lead to a drier Nove/Dec/Jan



  7. caiden says:

    melissa i am a snowboarder who is 13 years old and want to know if i will have enough snow to go snowboarding next week. i live in leominister, thanks

  8. Joseph Mayotte says:

    Noooooooooooooo! Please don’t let it snow please!

  9. murphmusik says:

    no Topkatt & Baileyman…..bummer…….anyone know what weather blog they went to? And godzilla please…..a little Scope wouldn’t hurt……..

  10. thetruth says:

    They all left because they couldn’t take criticism..frankly this blog is the better for it. They all claim they love all weather and only showed up to root for snow and hope for the worse. Sick really.

    1. murphmusik says:

      I disagree with you…and I was here all last winter & saw everything that went on. The ciriticism was pretty childish, I don’t blame them for leaving.

      Some people are pro-snow, some aren’t, and no one is right or wrong.

      I enjoyed their insight, and they had some very educated guesses about the weather. Anyway……………

      1. Doc Michaels says:

        “Some people are pro-snow” — seriously? did you read the same blog as everyone else? 99% of the people who showed up here over the last couple of winters were cultish snow-lovers who overhyped everything and looked like a bunch of idiots when all the storms they were hoping for fizzled out. And it was like that EVERY TIME snow was in the forecast, they’d be on here talking about the models and expecting 6-12 inches every time it came down. There’s “educated insight” and then there’s just foolishness and that’s exactly what they were like. Not to mention giving out their forecasts as if anyone came here just for that reason (how about the guy who referred to himself in the third person?).

        I’m also happy to see them gone and hope they didn’t quit their day jobs, assuming they had them. The hype machine gets enough traction on TV!

    2. shotime says:

      not even close!

  11. robertg says:

    If we are getting snow and cold this early with global warming think about how bad it would be without it.

    1. Sky Isn't Falling says:

      Hey Robert when it snowed in October in the ’70s, just imagine how bad it would have been then with global warming. Oh wait that doesn’t fit your argument, does it?

      1. robertg says:

        I guess you don’t understand sarcasm.

  12. north shore stars says:

    This is the type of storm I can get behind. a few pretty inches falling at night and we spend the next week melting our way out of it. It’s going to be interesting for the snow plow operators who usually use their trucks for landscaping during the fall. Who’d have thought they might get their first push in before they do their first fall cleanup?

  13. Jay says:

    Its funny listening to all the people hype up this early snowfall … The worst part is there is still a chance it could slide further south and spare us … This kind of snow is awful … trees get damaged … power is lost … and the snow is gone in a few days … Good luck to all the kids on Saturday night trick o treating … be sure to dress warm … early prediction and its my first of the year … Haverhill and the Merrimack valley will see 1-3 inches a spot or two might get 4 … Boston gets a slushy inch or 2 at best … Far west like Springfield and Worcester will get 6+ out of this storm … The major concern in the eastern part of the state is high tide … there is going to be some flooding with this one … good thing is the storm is moving very fast and will be gone early Sunday morning …

    1. snowman says:

      hmmmmm saturday night? last time i checked Halloween was monday night

      1. Dave H says:

        I think some towns do trick or treating on the Saturday prior to the actual day.

  14. David White says:

    Thanks Melissa and all,

    Let’s think positive that Indian Summer will come in November. We have not shifted to a permanent winter pattern as we did in October, 1972, and October, 1976; and September, 1981.

  15. shotime says:

    I think it’s safe to say you have brown eyes, too!

  16. shotime says:

    What concerns me most about this storm is not the amount of snow, but possible power outages. I was hoping to try out my new leaf vac this weekend, but it looks like I might be using my old snow shovel instead!

  17. Lantern Rogue says:

    My winter crop of peas is doing nicely and my tomatoes should be coming in around December……..

  18. Slam1263 says:

    The snowflakes don’t bother me.

    But their helcopter parents are scary.

    Let the snowflakes fall, when they hit rockbottom, they will change their ways.

  19. AceMaster says:

    Listen, anyone who is bashing all of the knowledgeable and always courteous people who used to write regularly on this blog, consider this. Sure they may at times have gotten a little overzealous and let their passion for the weather influence their posts, but NEVER, not once did they blatantly make anything up or go completely over the top. They were always speaking from previous experience and plain and simply, the facts available at the time. The facts and information available from computer models and historical data leading up to each storm last year were undisputed, whether or not they changed like the weather (no pun intended). Granted, some of the storms did not end up how they were forecasted, but all anyone had to go by was the facts and data at the time. That’s why it’s called a forecast. It’s better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. We can’t control the weather, so we have to rely on science and science isn’t always absolute. So please give them a break. They gave their time and passion to this blog and they were ridiculed for it which is just so wrong.

    1. AceMaster says:

      If you know weather so well and think the Mets are forecasting this weekend’s event wrong, then back it up. Give me facts, data, computer model maps, anything with some substance other than what kind of car you drive and how much money you make…

      1. weather_czar says:

        And who makes you the exert?????

    2. Stella says:

      “…some of the storms did not end up how they were forecasted…” – not SOME, MOST of them. Thank you for your “expert” insight into everyone else’s mind.

  20. Ellen says:

    With winter coming sooner and sooner what ever happen to Global Warming?

    1. Italo says:

      Actually, Ellen, ironically Global Warming could contribute to such storms and their developing stronger, too. In our lives’ shorter term, slight increases in worldwide sea levels, and slightly higher temperatures, may be strong enough to make the clashes stronger between the very cold to our north and the very warm south of us, both of which will always exist during our lives. In other words, so-called or possible global warming doesn’t mean decreased intensity in or the absence of cold weather or wintery storm patterns.

      The bigger the clashes, the stronger their influence on wind patterns, storms’ strength and speed, and persistency of precipitation, IMO. Now many a century or more from now, an earth in a continuing warming cycle will feature noticeably warmer seasonal weather yearround — but in these decades, we’ll just see increasingly stronger and longer-lasting versions, I think, of the same types of storms and weather we’ve always known.

      1. WHAT says:

        global warming is a bunch of BS !!!!!!!!

      2. Italo says:

        What I mean is, I’m not debating whether or not there is global warming going on — personally, I subscribe to the belief that there are just vast cooling/warming cycles that earth experiences, far vaster than our lifetimes, a century’s time, or Al Gore’s egocentric believing that we 21st century humans have the power to do anything that can Mother Nature can’t out-do.. I meant that if there were a Global Warming — or if we are in a multiple-centuries warming period still — all’s it’s going to do is make whatever we already have, be stormier, stronger, and nastier. — It’s certainly not going to make us get to see palm trees growing naturally in Boston, or 75 degree winters in New Hampshire. Not in our lifetimes, nope: just more snow, colder winters, and fiercer summer thunderstorms, to name just some stuff!

  21. manowx says:

    This winter looks similar to 05-06. so do not be alarmed by this early snow. Global warming lives!

  22. manowx says:

    this winter will be another also-ran. The trees are still green. many homes still have ac units in windows. This presages another generally mild winter

  23. manowx says:

    global warming man!

  24. Steve says:

    This is clearly a result of global warming. Buy carbon credits today!

  25. ummmmm says:

    lots need to happen in october to get the kind of snow the mets are forecasting , a whole lot !!! If it were me forecasting i would stay conservative and mention the possibillity of snow !!! To highlite a major noreaster is totally obsered , if you look at melissa’s map it calls for 1 inch in boston–lol yea thats a major noreaster–lol the higher elevations over 1000 feet stand the best chance of any snow and there i bet it will be under 3 inches

  26. jon metes says:

    I’ll be surprised if there are any OWS gangs still around after this!

  27. Joe says:

    Wow, even this early in the season we have more trolls than all of last year. Here’s a newsflash for all the snow haters. Yes, people come here to discuss winter weather more than other seasons. Why? Many reasons such as some plow it, some ski/board on it, some snow mobile on it, we all have too drive on it and some work and have kids who won’t be in school because of it. And yes, GOD FORBID there are some who enjoy meteorology as a hobby and enjoy the unpredictable science of trying to forecast snowfall.

    Me? I plow it with a contractual responsibility to do so and with a large amount of liability involved. I’m scrambling to try and get trucks ready and be informed when my customers and employees ask me “what’s up with the snow?”. Coming here allows me to get different opinions and possible scenarios. Well, it used to that is.

    So if you hate snow, you don’t want it to ever snow and this blog and the people here annoy you then why exactly do you come here? Oh, wait I already answered that question in my first sentence – Trolls with to much time.


  28. Andi says:

    One year ago from this very moment, I was on Coast Guard Beach – shorts and flip-flops – 72 degrees. You never know.

  29. Hadi says:

    Glad to see thing have not changed:)

  30. Snow Time says:

    I was on here during the summer and if 3 or 4 people posted it was a rare day sometimes no one posted at all. Now we are talking snow and already over 50 people have made posts since this morning. Come on snow we have been waiting a long time for your return.

  31. squat says:

    super cold air above with low dew pionts and W/NW winds 24 hours before the storm should force a track 30-50 miles E/SE of the bench mark. Much quicker change over should occur. Boston to 128 3-6″ — 128 N&W 8-12″

  32. Richard Tanner says:

    No doubt the kid is a renown scientist

  33. OWS Boston Becky says:

    ok like theyre saying no snow in Boston, I am at Occupy Boston fighting coroportism and the Koch.Cheney power machine. hopefully they’ll keep it warmer

  34. TechGuru says:

    For those looking for TK and that gang…they’re not hard to find. Not going to post a link here because I imagine they wouldn’t want that; but I found them in literally 2 seconds with this newfangled thing the kids are calling a search engine….

  35. dripable service says:

    That was descriptive blog.

  36. squat says:

    latest models indicate very rapid thermo cooling all the way to the coastal plane. This will mean a much earlier change over to snow in E.NE. A moderate snowfall of 3-5″ is now likely inside of rt128. A heavy snowfall of 6-12′ is very likely outside of rt128. There are incredible dynamics with this storm and will make it one for the record books. The combination of very heavy wet snow and strong winds will result in widespread power outages and downed tree. Precautions need to be taken. Including buying batteries and candles. Fortunately it will not be cold enough for pipes to freeze. This is a serious situation therefore the latest forcasts need to be monitored.

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