Wednesday is the proverbial calm before the storm for New England, as blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine.
We're finally enjoying an easing of the arctic air, but keep in mind it’s that arctic air that’s kept us dry and removed from the storm path lately, so with slightly warmer temperatures comes a walk onto the wild side.
Wednesday morning saw snow showers in Chicago and a wintry mix from northern Florida to coastal Georgia – both components to the blizzard that will wallop New England on Thursday.
After a quiet start to the night, snow will spread from south to north predawn Thursday, quickly coating roads.
By 9 a.m., winds start increasing markedly and whiteouts ensue, making travel nearly impossible through the day. Some of the South Shore and Cape will change to rain for awhile Thursday morning, but are likely to flip back to snow by late morning and midday. Some areas could see more than a foot of snow.
Gusts from the north, then the northwest, will hit 50 to 60 mph along the coast and 45 mph inland, creating power outages, particularly where rain turns to pasty snow.
Waves will build 15 to 20 feet offshore, and this will combine with a high tidal level to bring moderate to pockets of major coastal flooding around the noon tide.
Snow will start breaking up between 5 to 7 p.m. and depart around 11 p.m. Concerns lingering after the storm include no heat for those who lose power, even as arctic air pours in, and brackish water from coastal flooding lingering in coastal communities with chunks of harbor ice, then freezing as the post-storm arctic cold surges in.
All of us will see very cold temperatures and wind chill values Friday into Saturday.
The next storm is on the docket for early next week, with another chance at the end of the week in the exclusive Early Warning Weather 10-day forecast.
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