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


BOSTON (CBS) – All week long you may have heard us chatting about a strong ocean storm, but I’m guessing as soon as you heard the words “near miss” or “out to sea”, you likely tuned out. Well, time to tune back in! A powerful ocean storm will be passing by southern New England late Friday night and latest indications are that it will come just a hair closer than originally thought. But, a “hair closer” with a storm of this magnitude can have significant consequences.

This will NOT be a full-fledged classic New England nor’easter, at least not over land. The vast majority of the snow and wind will occur over the open ocean. However, it now appears as though the storm will come just close enough to clip extreme southeastern MA with some wind and snow.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket from 8 p.m. Friday to 11 a.m. Saturday. Snow accumulation likely reaches 2-to-4 inches for this area and wind gusts can exceed 60 mph at times.

Here’s a more in depth look at the potential impacts:

TIMELINE AND AMOUNTS:

Friday 7 p.m. to 11 pm: Some light rain and snow showers break out across the area. Low impact stuff for the most part, no accumulation expected.

Friday 11 p.m. to Saturday 11 a.m. These are the hours in which the greatest impact will occur. For most of us in southern New England, there will be very little impact at all. Just a few snowflakes and a bit of a gusty wind. However, a different story in southeastern Mass. as they will be just close enough to the storm to fall within the edge of the envelope of snow and wind. The farther southeast you go, the better chance of steadier snowfall, some snow accumulation and strong winds.

In the Boston to Providence area, expect just some light snow at times, perhaps a coating to an inch in spots.

In the Plymouth to New Bedford area, a steadier and perhaps heavier snow at times, up to an inch or two of accumulation.

And in the “jackpot” area, Cape Cod and the Islands, there could easily be 2-to-4 inches of snow from the mid-to-outer Cape and over the Islands, perhaps even up to 6 inches in spots.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

By late morning on Saturday, the band of snow and wind pulls east, completely out to sea, leaving just a gusty, chilly day in its wake.

TRAVEL:

Friday evening plans shouldn’t be impacted much if really at all. If traveling along the Massachusetts Turnpike or farther north, there’s little to no issue at all. South and east of Boston likely sees patchy wet spots after 8 p.m. but the snow and slippery roads are more of an overnight concern. Plows likely have to hit the Cape and Islands to make sure Saturday morning is manageable, but all-in-all drive times should stay pretty normal. Drivers will likely notice the gusts if they’re close to the water, so be sure to take it a little slower, especially early on Saturday.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

WIND:

Again, the areas closer to the storm, get much higher, potentially damaging winds.

Late Friday night, east-northeast winds begin to increase with gusts 20-to-40 mph along the coastline and into southeastern Mass. and 40-to-50 mph over the Cape and Islands.

Overnight and into Saturday morning, the winds will veer into the north and peak between 45-to-65 mph on the outer Cape and Islands.

The Plymouth County coastline will see gusts to 50 mph overnight, while the rest of southern New England remains 20-to-40 mph.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

ROUGH SEAS:

The seas will get mighty angry during this storm with wave heights easily reaching 10-to-20 feet just offshore of the Cape and Islands. Astronomical tides are increasing this weekend but thankfully won’t be at their peak until after the storm has passed. The one high tide worth watching for some minor coastal flooding would be the Saturday morning high tide between 8 and 10 a.m., particularly along north and northeast facing beaches (like Cape Cod Bay).

Please stay tuned for updates on WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and CBSN Boston before and during the storm.

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