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Forecast: Large Ocean Storm Brings Wind, Snow Sunday Into Monday

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Saturday Evening Update:

Since this morning a few things have changed with regard to the forecast. There are now blizzard watches up for much of the coastline, excluding the city of Boston. This is due to the possibility of whiteout conditions late Sunday and early Monday.

Blizzard watches are posted for much of the coastline of Massachusetts. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)
Blizzard watches are posted for much of the coastline of Massachusetts. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)

Winter storm warnings are also posted for the area because of the likelihood of 6 or more inches of snow. Along the coastline the snow will start as rain, but change to snow during Sunday afternoon and evening.

Winter storm warnings are posted for much of New England as of Saturday night. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)
Winter storm warnings are posted for much of New England as of Saturday night. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)

Original Post:

A very complex and difficult forecast is unfolding for the second part of the weekend. After 1 to 3 inches of snow overnight Saturday, skies will remain generally cloudy throughout the day with no precipitation. Temperatures will be in the 30s and, in spite of no sunshine, it will be a great day to get out and enjoy the fresh snow cover. This is the time to use your cross country skis, snowshoes and even take a ride on the snowmobile.

Another storm will move down from the north and hit the coastline Sunday. As it reaches the ocean it will explode into a large and intense ocean storm. Meteorologists call this rapid intensification "bombogenesis." We use this word when storms are going to undergo very rapid strengthening. These types of situations often produce a lot of wind and very sharp gradients of snowfall ranges.

A coastal storm will undergo rapid intensification Sunday night into Monday. (Courtesy Tropical Tidbits)
A coastal storm will undergo rapid intensification Sunday night into Monday. (Courtesy Tropical Tidbits)

Areas around southern Maine will see up to 2 feet of snow from this storm with areas south of Boston only receiving a few inches. A wobble of 10 to 20 miles of the storm, or a slight variation in the timing of the strengthening can have large impacts to our forecast.

The map below shows how much snow I am expecting in southern New England. Notice the possibility of as much as 8 inches is very close to Boston — but so is the possibility of just a few inches. In other words, expect the unexpected and look for updates during the day.

Snow will fall Sunday night into Monday. Snow will fall inland during the day Sunday with rain along the coast. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)
Snow will fall Sunday night into Monday. Snow will fall inland during the day Sunday with rain along the coast. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)

The heaviest of the snow will fall Sunday afternoon and evening and into the first half of Monday. Some area schools will likely be closed for a third day in a row. I expect the snow to end early to mid-afternoon on Monday.

Precipitation type is an issue. Along the coastline, including Boston, rain will fall before a change to snow Sunday night or early Monday. The timing of this will need to be refined later Saturday. When the changeover occurs will be a big determining factor in total snowfall.

Present Timing Of Rain And Snow

4 a.m Sunday - 9 a.m. Sunday: Some freezing drizzle or snow. Watch for slick spots.

9 a.m. Sunday - 2 p.m. Sunday: Snow starting inland, rain or snow at coast.  Little accumulation at the  coast, a few inches west of Route 128.

2 p.m. Sunday - 7 p.m. Sunday: Precipitation becomes steadier. Snow inland, rain or rain and snow at coast.

7 p.m. Sunday - 2 a.m. Monday: Snow inland, rain and mixed rain and snow at the coast.

2 a.m Monday - 11 a.m. Monday: Snow inland, rain changes to snow at coast. This is when Boston receives most of the snow.

Beyond 11 a.m. Monday: Windy with scattered snow showers along the coast.

Winds will also be a big player in this storm. Scattered power outages are likely, especially along the coast and the Cape and the Islands where winds could gust over 60 miles per hour. Inland areas will see strong winds as well.

Winds will be very strong late Sunday night and Monday. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)
Winds will be very strong late Sunday night and Monday. (Dave Epstein/WBUR)

The weather is calmer Tuesday with the chance of snow showers Wednesday, but this doesn't look like a big event.

You can follow my updates on Twitter at @growingwisdom


Saturday Night: Cloudy, some spotty freezing drizzle possible and could cause icy roads. Lows 23-30.

Sunday: Snow redeveloping during the day. Rain along the coast. Rain-snow line will fluctuate. Not much accumulation during the afternoon at the coast, but several inches well inland. Highs 35-40.

Sunday Night: Rain changing to snow at the coast. Snow inland. Lows 28-33.

Monday: Snow ending after overnight snow and mixed snow and rain. Highs in the 30s.

Tuesday: Clearing and seasonable. Highs 35-40.

David Epstein Twitter Meteorologist
David Epstein is WBUR's meteorologist.

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