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

BOSTON (CBS) – We are off and running…Our Valentine’s weekend storm has arrived on schedule and will essentially come in two distinct phases.

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Part 1 happened Saturday night. Light to moderate snowfall over all of Southern New England lasted until about 10 p.m. Then, the storm gathered itself just to our south and became a powerful blizzard by Sunday morning. Sunday will be a good day to hunker down, stay inside and stay off the roads.

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While most of the snowfall will taper off by afternoon, the winds will continue to howl, blowing the snow around in such a frenzy you may not even realize the snow has stopped.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Blizzard warnings are actually up through 7AM Monday. This is a rare case where we may continue to experience very low visibilities and white out conditions for many hours after the snow has stopped.

TIMELINE

Let’s break this entire storm down piece by piece, hour by hour, flake by flake.

Saturday Night Through 9PM:

Phase one. Light to moderate snow, widespread 2-5”.

Saturday Night 9PM-2AM:

Phase 1 over and we are in a lull while the storm gets organized. Scattered snow flurries/snow showers but no real significant additional accumulation or winds just yet…

Sunday Early Morning 2AM-7AM:

The storm now has a clear center and begins to rapidly deepen and strengthen just to the east of Cape Cod. A steady shield of snow overspreads the entire region with some pockets of fairly heavy snow, up to an inch per hour. The winds start to crank up out of the north-northeast gusting 20-40mph. We may be near blizzard conditions in spots. Another 2-4″ falls in this time period, bringing total snow accumulation up to 4-8″ by 7AM.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Sunday Mid to Late Morning 7AM-1PM:

The peak of the storm. The most likely timeframe for blizzard conditions in all of Eastern Massachusetts. A powerful band of intense snow will rotate southward from the North to South Shore and Cape Cod. Snow rates could peak at 2-3″ per hour. Northerly wind gusts will top out between 30-50mph inland, 50-60mph along the Coast and 60-75mph over Cape Cod. The powdery snow will be whipped into a frenzy, visibility will be near zero, many roads will become impassible. An additional 6-12″ could fall in parts of Eastern MA in these 6 hours alone with 3-6″ likely in areas well inland. Snow will be impossible to measure due to the winds which will create massive snow drifts.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Sunday Afternoon and Evening 1PM-7PM:

The heavy snow band will have passed. The snow falling from the clouds will lessen significantly. However, the snow will continue to be whipped and blown around horizontally. Blizzard conditions will likely continue in the afternoon even though the snowfall will be light and tapering. (A blizzard can be caused by falling and/or blowing snow). North-northwesterly winds will relentlessly lash all of New England Sunday Afternoon. Frequent gusts will remain between 25-45mph inland and still up to 60mph along the Coast.

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(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

After 7PM Sunday:

The falling snow is long gone, the winds decrease somewhat but stay gusty all night. Widespread gusts between 20-40mph will continue for several more hours. Cleaning driveways and roads will be awfully frustrating as the winds continue to blow the snow back onto previously cleaned surfaces.

ACCUMULATION

4-8″ in Western MA including Vermont and the Berkshires

8-12” in Central MA, including Worcester County and most of Middlesex County. Also including west and southwestern New Hampshire.

12-18” in Eastern MA including all towns near and inside 128. This would also encompass all of Essex County in NE Massachusetts and Rockingham County in Southern New Hampshire. Highest amounts (near 18″ or perhaps a tick more) will likely be found in Southeastern Massachusetts including the South Shore and most of Cape Cod.

The snow will once again be light and fluffy (powdery). This means it will pile up quickly but thankfully be relatively easy to push and snowblow around. Some power outages are likely due to the strong winds, but the light nature of the snow should prevent widespread outages.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

COASTAL FLOODING

High tide of greatest concern is Sunday morning around 730AM…Areas of greatest concern would be the North Shore from Salisbury to Cape Ann and the Cape Cod Bay from Sandwich to Dennis. Minor to moderate flooding is anticipated…few things working in our favor: tides are not that high astronomically and this is not a long duration event (just one tide cycle affected) so seas will not have a chance to build.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

The winter of 2014-2015 continues to be historical, records fall with each and every storm. This event will undoubtedly take us to more places never before seen in more than 120 years of record keeping. It is mind boggling just how much snow has fallen in such a short period of time, which bears the question, how much more can we possibly take? How much more could our atmosphere possibly have left? And unfortunately there are no answers to those questions just yet. One thing is certain beyond this storm, the cold is going nowhere. The next 1-2 weeks are going to remain frigid. This will likely be one of, if not the coldest February ever recorded. It is very possible that we could make it the entire month without one day above average. There is no significant snowmelt coming anytime soon.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

RECORDS CONTINUE FALLING

The winter of 2014-2015 continues to be historical, records falling with each and every storm. This event will undoubtedly take us to more places never before seen in more than 120 years of record keeping.

It is mind boggling just how much snow has fallen in such a short period of time, which bears the question, how much more can we possibly take? How much more could our atmosphere possibly have left?

And unfortunately there are no answers to those questions just yet. One thing is certain beyond this storm – the cold is going nowhere.

The next 1-2 weeks are going to remain frigid. This will likely be one of, if not the coldest February ever recorded. It is very possible that we could make it the entire month without one day above average.

There is no significant snow melt coming anytime soon.

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