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Snow and freezing temperatures on the horizon

Expecting up to 8 inches of snow across the region, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for cities and towns on the Massachusetts coast between 5 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesday.

“The height of the storm will be about midnight [Monday] through 9 a.m. [Tuesday] ... Leading up to and including the morning commute,” said William Babcock, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “There could be some snow in the air at the time of the Monday evening commute.”

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Boston, the North Shore, and parts of the South Shore are expected to get about 4 to 6 inches while the Cape could get up to 8 inches.

The storm watch includes Lawrence and coastal communities in Essex, Suffolk, and Plymouth counties, as well as Cape Cod.

Sunday’s high of 54 degrees and sunny skies appreached Boston’s record high temperature for Jan. 20, 60 degrees, set in 1951.

But plunging temperatures and snow, more typical January fare, loomed through the long, pleasant day.

“We’ve had above-average temperatures thus far, and now we’re looking at a regime of below-average temperatures,” said Charlie Foley, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Taunton.

Monday was expected to remain cold, with highs in the upper 20s.

“Robust winds will kind of add a bite to that,” Foley said.

And then, the snow.

Those with long driveways and wide sidewalks can take solace in cold temperatures, expected to be in the mid-20s, which will spare Boston a wet, heavy snowfall.

“The snow that will fall will be very light so it has a tendancy to fluff up, if you will,” Foley said.

Temperatures will remain in the 20s during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, then drop into the single digits after sunset. The National Weather Service called for lows of 6 degrees on Tuesday night and 5 on Wednesday.

“We could actually see the coldest temperatures we’ve had in about two years,” Foley said.

Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at gal.lotan@globe.com.
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