BOSTON (CBS) – Have you tested the snow thrower yet? If not, today might be a good time to reliably refuel and do a test run. I mean, it’s December after all! The models match better on Friday and the snow forecast for Saturday becomes a little clearer.
It appears this storm will take the form of a classic early or late season winter storm in southern New England. It is difficult to accumulate a lot of snow near the coast (thanks largely to a relatively mild ocean) and the preferred “jackpot” areas are likely to be to the north and west, especially with elevation changes.
This will be a very heavy, wet, pasty snow. For the most part, the snow falls a few degrees above freezing on surface temperatures. Not to mention, it will rain for several hours and land on non-frozen, mild ground. All of these factors make us forecasters believe that it will be difficult to get heavy piles of snow.
There is one caveat, a “wildcard” if you will.
The only way to achieve significant snow accumulation at lower altitudes in such a situation is to create severe streaking. As this storm intensifies south of Long Island and eventually south of Cape Cod, it will likely cause heavy snowfall somewhere north and west of the pass of the center. These bands can really mess up an otherwise good forecast, often dropping several inches of snowfall in the same places for several hours in an hour. So this could be one of those situations where you get sloppy an inch or two in an area and some cities (under an overcrowded heavy band of snow) get over half a foot.
Our main concern is to determine if a band of snow is forming, where it is forming, and how long it will take.
6 “-12” heavy, wet snow can cause significant damage to trees and power lines, resulting in numerous power outages. As of now, the most likely location for this seems to be in the higher elevations of Worcester County and southwest New Hampshire.
Do you have plans for saturday Let’s break this down hour by hour.
Saturday, 8 a.m.:
All rain at this point.
Rain cover covers most of southern New England.
Light rain reaches south of New Hampshire.
More even, heavier rain falls south of the pike
At higher elevations in southern New England, including the hills of Worcester County and the Berkshires, the rain turns to wet snow
Moderate, steady rain in the east fair.
Heavy downpours possible extreme southeastern mass (Cape Cod area)
4 p.m. Saturday:
Rain / snow line collapses to the east, likely around or through about 495 (north of Marlboro to Lowell)
Heavy, wet snow is now falling in most places west of 495
Severe banding in Worcester County
Light snow in the western fair, further away from the storm center
The rain continues on the coast, maybe some wet flakes are mixing around Route 128 and I-95
8 p.m. Saturday:
The rain / snow line continues to collapse to the east
Now snow is falling all the way to the coast and in Boston
Rain continues on Plymouth County and the Cape and Isles
Strong streaks can bump east toward 495
The intensity of precipitation begins to brighten in the west as the storm subsides
Trailing edge of snow visible on radar, near Worcester County
Storm retreats, snow focus in Maine
Light, leftover thunderstorms Mass. East coast
1 to 3 inches:
Immediate coast including Boston through the north coast, all at the very end, very wet and heavy
3 to 6 inches:
West of I-95 to about 495, again very heavy and wet, most congestion occurs in the late afternoon until about 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
6 to 12 inches:
Western Middlesex County, most of Worcester County, and much of southern New Hampshire. This is the area where banding is most likely and some over-success can occur with snow totals
Few final storms are possible, South Shore and Cape very late at night when the system wraps up and pulls away with no build-up expected.
We expect the winds to peak Saturday afternoon and evening along the coast with gusts of 45 to 60 miles per hour from the north-northeast and later change to the north-northwest in the storm.
Further inland the gusts will be a little less, on the order of 25-45 miles per hour. Still powerful enough to cause or worsen tree damage and power outages.
The tides will be astronomically low, so no significant problems with flooding on the coast are to be expected. Flood occurs around 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 3 a.m., just before and after the peak of the winds.
As always, we urge you to keep up to date on WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and CBSN Boston before and during the storm. We’ll cover you!
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ