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

BOSTON (CBS) – Here we go again, yet another weak, messy, “sad excuse for a storm” on the way.

The pattern this winter has been clear. It is a recipe that has been repeated storm after storm, week after week, month after month. A thump of snow, changes to sleet within a few hours, transitions to rain or freezing rain depending on your location and it’s done. It is like we are caught in an endless atmospheric dish washing – the same thing over and over and over. Even the timing has been nearly identical. With the exception of this past Monday (when we actually saw snow falling during the daylight hours), nearly every storm brings snow late at night with a change to ice and rain by the time you wake up the following morning.

And right on cue, Mother Nature is once again pressing the “wash” button.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

The initial band of snow will arrive between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. from west to east. Expect a start time of around 9 p.m. in Worcester and 10 p.m. in Boston (give or take). The snow will only last a few hours for most, but it will be a decent burst at the onset.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

We do not anticipate more than a coating to an inch or two anywhere in southern New England before the warmer air starts to work in about 5,000 feet above our heads.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

The greatest risk of picking up around 3 inches will be where the snow lingers longest, in northern Mass. and southern New Hampshire. The familiar “pinging” sound of sleet will ring across the region after midnight as the snowflakes change to sleet pellets.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Then, as the atmosphere above continues to warm closer and closer to the ground, the sleet will transition to freezing rain (essentially rain that falls and freezes on contact with the ground which is below 32 degrees). This will NOT be a significant ice storm. There just isn’t that much precipitation. Between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. the freezing rain (inland) and rain (along the coast and over southeast Mass.) will taper to showers and then end completely.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

The latter half of the Thursday morning commute will feature just a few sprinkles and pockets of drizzle. Temperatures will likely be a few degrees below freezing outside of 495 through mid-morning on Thursday, making for slippery driveways, sidewalks and untreated side roads. By late morning on Thursday, temperatures begin to climb. All locations will warm above freezing, heading for the upper 40’s and low 50’s by afternoon. No flash freeze, in fact it is the opposite, call it a flash-melt Thursday afternoon.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

One other thing to keep in mind, with the full moon occurring on Tuesday, tides will be very high astronomically. Thankfully, the storm is weak and winds will be turning offshore as we reach our high tide late Thursday morning. There will likely be some minor coastal flooding (regardless of the storm and winds) between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thursday in the typical prone locations.

No serious cold following the storm, highs in the 40’s through the weekend. Another storm arrives late Saturday night, this one looks even milder than the last. Just a chance of a brief period of snow or ice at the very beginning, destined to be mainly rain on Sunday.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ


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