BOSTON (CBS) – Stock up on the snow blowers, a big winter snow storm is heading to Massachusetts!
It’s been a while since we had a storm of this magnitude across our entire area. In fact, you’ll have to go back on March 14, 2018 to see the last snowfall in Boston, which is roughly what we’re about to get (Boston is 14.8 inches this storm).
CHECK: School closings in Massachusetts and southern NH
A storm of this size is even rarer before Christmas. The last time we had a foot of snow from a storm in Boston before Christmas was 2008 (12.5 inches on December 20th).
Worcester had a foot of snow (12.2 inches to be exact) as of December 2019, but this storm is likely to exceed that too.
Let’s “dive in” right away.
The first flakes arrive around 6 p.m. Wednesday in Southwest Connecticut and at 10 p.m. in Northeast (Essex County) Massachusetts.
This storm will deliver a classic “front-end blow” of snow. It will come in like a wall and the snowfall rate will hit 1 to 2 inches per hour almost immediately. The streets are roofed and traveling is dangerous in the first few hours.
The first 2 to 5 hours of this storm will likely have the heaviest snow of the entire storm and possibly up to half the total forecast accumulation.
At 4 to 5 in the morning the “blow” is over and the snow will settle for the rest of the morning with a moderate and even intensity.
During the afternoon we will have light to moderate bands of snow, the coverage of which will gradually decrease, and by Thursday noon, 80 to 90 percent of the accumulation will be over.
After 4pm Just a few remaining coastal thunderstorms and it’s time to clean up!
We expect a sharp drop in temperature in locations near or above freezing for the first part of the storm – this includes parts of Norfolk, Plymouth and Bristol counties.
Late on Thursday morning, temperatures drop from the low to the mid 30s to the 20s within a few hours. Untreated roads and surfaces that were wet immediately freeze over and cause an extremely dangerous driving and walking situation.
Widely used 10 to 16 inches:
Over most of southern New England, north of Cape Cod and the south coast. The main difference here is in the texture of the snow. It’s going to be light and fluffy stuff west of I-95, and a lot heavier and wetter inside I-95, including the coast and most of southeastern Massachusetts. While there may be more rainfall (water equivalent) in the south, it may end up with the same total values. Less water content in the northwest, but fluffier snow accumulates much more easily.
6 to 10 inches:
Over the south coast and the Upper Cape near the canal, including Martha’s vineyard. This is due to very wet snow and mixed precipitation.
Also the same amounts north of Manchester and Keene, New Hampshire due to less rainfall available, very light and loose up there.
3 to 6 inches:
A lot is mixed here above the outer cape and vineyard
1 to 3 inches:
On Nantucket with a lot of rain
There will likely be some areas that are receiving more than 16 inches of snow due to heavy banding. These are always the hardest to pin down, but we believe the most likely areas for this event are:
South and southwest of Boston in parts of Norfolk and the northern counties of Plymouth and Bristol (due to large temperature contrast from a coastal front)
Monadnock Region and Berkshires (due to heavy banding and some slope components with height differences)
These regions could easily exceed 16 “and maybe up to 18” or 20 “.”
2 feet? In that case, the Berkshires would be the most likely area.
Not a huge storm, so winds won’t be nearly as high as some of our more notable Nor’easters have been in the past.
The strongest winds will be on the outer cape and in Nantucket with gusts of up to 90 km / h.
Gusts between 35-45 miles per hour are expected along the remaining coast.
Much less inland winds with winds mostly rising between 15 and 35 miles per hour.
The tides during the storm will be astronomical, which means we will have to watch out for flooding on the coast. Fortunately, the storm peak occurs at low tide (Thursday morning), so we expect only minor splashes and endangered street flooding during the high tide on Thursday afternoon (12:52 p.m. in Boston).
As always, we urge you to keep up to date with updated forecasts on WBZ-TV, CBSBoston.com and CBSN Boston in advance of and during nor’easter
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ