A major winter storm is threatening two feet of snow or more to parts of New England on Saturday, with a blizzard warning already in effect.
Here's a look at what to expect as the storm rolls through New England, updated as of Friday morning:
A significant winter storm is in its developing stages Friday morning and will impact the region starting overnight and continuing through the day Saturday. The energy associated with this storm is actually over Texas as of right now. Once it combines with energy coming out of the Midwest and moisture down in the Gulf and off the coast of Florida, it's go time. Low pressure will rapidly intensify Saturday afternoon (bombogenesis), with the storm center passing just southeast of Nantucket by early evening. The storm will depart Saturday night and a weak area of high pressure will build into the area Sunday. Bitterly cold wind chills will be the primary highlight behind this system on Sunday.
Some light snow showers will develop Friday, but the main event waits to arrive until late evening/overnight. Expect steady snow to fill in between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., ramping up in intensity by Saturday morning. The "height" of the storm will be between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. Snowfall rates of 2 to 3 inches per hour, thundersnow, blizzard conditions and treacherous travel will result. The snow will taper in intensity after 7 p.m. and end from west to east between 8 and 11 p.m.
In general, this storm will drop around 2 FEET of snow across much of the region, with 18 to 24 inches into central Massachusetts, and a bit less in far southern Vermont, western Massachusetts and western Connecticut. Yes, the snow will be “fluffy” for many, but shoveling this much will be a difficult task, so my advice would be to do it in batches throughout the day.
The wind will increase overnight, 20 to 30 mph with gusts 30 to 40 mph inland pretty much all day Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the coast, it’s a different story. I anticipate numerous 50 to 60 mph gusts, with 60 to 70 mph gusts along the coast of Cape Ann to the immediate shoreline of the South Shore and Cape Cod. Isolated 70 to 80 mph gusts on the Outer Cape are certainly possible. The strongest wind will be during the late afternoon to mid-evening. The wind direction will be out of the north-northeast early Saturday then shift to a northerly direction by midday. There will be a brief window of gusts 40 to 50 mph inland between 7 and 11 p.m. out of the north-northwest.
Seas will build 15 to 25 feet just offshore Saturday, and 5 to 10 feet in the bays too. Battering waves and significant beach erosion will result. Widespread minor coastal flooding will occur during the morning high tide cycle, with pockets of moderate coastal flooding during the evening high tide. Our area of biggest concern is along Cape Cod Bay, where a 2-to-4-foot surge is forecast. Coastal residents, you know the drill... expect street closures, basement flooding and isolated structural damage is possible.
This blizzard will have a high/severe impact across the region, though the worst conditions will be felt along the immediate coast. Pockets of power outages will occur inland, with scattered to widespread outages at the coast. Expect nearly impossible travel conditions all day Saturday with blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility. Bitterly cold wind chills which will be subzero much of the day Saturday. Wind chill values will remain in the 5 to 10 degrees above zero range the remainder of the day Sunday.