Up to a foot of heavy, wet snow could fall in some areas of Massachusetts this weekend, which could result in downed tree limbs and scattered power outages, forecasters said.
The storm is expected to crawl up the state, moving from south to north, beginning with rain along the coast just after 3 p.m. Saturday. The storm will intensify Saturday night and then taper off Sunday afternoon, said meteorologist Charlie Foley.
The forecasters said they were most confident of snow near and north of the Massachusetts Turnpike and away from the coast. A “sweet spot” in the Worcester hills has potential for more than a foot of snow, Simpson said. Boston will likely see 4 to 6 inches of snow, with 6 to 8 in the western suburbs, and 2 to 4 inches south of the Massachusetts Turnpike. Less than an inch is predicted on the outer tip of the Cape and on the islands.
Forecasters issued a winter storm watch for all of Western, Central, and Northeastern Massachusetts effective Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
Coastal areas such as Scituate and Plum Island, hard-hit by the blizzard, are especially vulnerable to this storm, as high tide arrives at 10 a.m. Sunday, just as the storm enters its final stages. Despite weaker tides than those two weeks ago, the resulting erosion from the blizzard “makes these locations more susceptible to greater damage,” Foley said.
The National Weather Service said it was a “tricky forecast” because some areas, where temperatures are higher than freezing, will see rain from the storm. The forecasters said they were less confident of snow south of the Pike and along the coast. Forecasters are still unsure where the line separating rain from snow will form, which would affect overall snowfall totals, and said temperatures “will make a big difference,” determining whether cold rain or wet snow falls.
A snowfall forecast map issued by the agency this morning showed the area inside Route 128, including Boston, getting up to 8 inches, with smaller amounts possible the closer you get to the coast. The snow amounts increase heading north and west, with up to 10 inches in northern Central Massachusetts.
Underlining the trickiness of the forecast, the map was different from one issued by the service Thursday afternoon that predicted less than an inch in Boston.
David Epstein, a meteorologist who blogs for boston.com, says where you live is going to matter a lot in terms of how much snow you receive from this nor’easter. Several miles could make a big difference, depending on the temperature.
“It’s not a high-confidence forecast,” Foley said, noting that it will undoubtedly be “a significant storm.”