A nor’easter is expected to drop a recordbreaking amount of snow Tuesday, just days before the official start of spring.
Much of the state is expected to get more than a foot of snow, with smaller amounts to the southeast, including as little as 4 inches on parts of the Cape and islands. Some pockets could blanketed by 2 feet.
The current Boston record for one-day March snowfall totals was set in 1956 with 13.2 inches of snow. The National Weather Service is predicting up to 18 inches in the city.
The weather issued a blizzard watch for the high-impact storm for the eastern part of the state until late Tuesday night.
State officials said Monday that the storm system track had wobbled further west than previously expected. The shift could mean more snow in Central and Western Massachusetts and less along the South Shore and Cape Cod, officials said.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned of high, potentially damaging winds— which could reach up to 70 miles per hour in some areas. Coastal flooding is also a concern, officials said in a statement Monday morning.
Visibility at times during the storm could be near zero, so officials are advising residents to stay inside during the storm.
High winds blowing into the coast during high tide Tuesday afternoon could cause flooding, officials said. High tide is already expected to be a few feet higher than normal, Plymouth harbormaster Chad Hunter said.
“Coastal beaches are probably going to take a beating,” Hunter said.
Thundersnow and coastal flooding could also accompany the storm.
After a relatively mild Monday, with temperatures in the 30s and some gusting winds, the snowfall is expected to begin in most areas between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said.
Heavy snow will likely fall throug the morning, reaching 2 to 4 inches per hour and creating whiteout conditions that will make for a dangerous morning commute.
“It won’t be good, that’s for sure,” Simpson said.
The snowfall is expected to gradually wind down in Greater Boston starting around 7 p.m., but commuters should expect their travel home to be even worse than the morning with less visibility on the roads, Simpson said. It may continue to snow lightly overnight into Wednesday, Simpson said.
“We’re assuming a very slow and arduous evening commute,” he said.
It’s still not clear which areas will see rain and which will see snow, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Cadima. On Sunday night, forecasters were predicting that the Cape would get a mixture, holding down the accumulations there.
Tuesday’s snow will be accompanied by fairly cold weather, with lows in the 20s and highs in the mid-30s, but the winds will make the temperatures feel as though they are in the teens, forecasters said.
Boston has seen 39.2 inches of snow this winter, according to the National Weather Service. Tuesday’s storm is expected to push the city past its average total snowfall of 45 inches.Olivia Arnold can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @olivia_arnold12. Reena Karasin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @reenakarasin.