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Forecast

Low-intensity, long-duration storm on its way to Mass. for Thursday and Friday

Fog and wintery weather shroud the Back Bay and the Charles River on Tuesday.
Fog and wintery weather shroud the Back Bay and the Charles River on Tuesday.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

After several days without a lot of sunshine it’s been bright and chilly for the middle part of the week. I’ve been saying that there’s going to be some snow during Thursday and Friday for a while and that still looks to be the case. Although we are going to see wintery weather, this is not going to be a big, concentrated storm but more of a longer, drawn-out affair with snow falling from late Thursday afternoon all the way through Friday evening.

Before I get into the details as to why this isn’t going to be a big storm, let me give you one quick meteorological lesson: Storms like to ride thermal boundaries that occur where we find a temperature gradient. These gradients can be very dramatic or they can be more subtle.

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In our upcoming storm the gradient will be present, but not overly dramatic and the difference in temperature will show up in a more elongated pattern, rather than a dramatic curved one. Since we will have a more gradual change in temperature to our south this will keep this particular storm from becoming really strong.

Big storms feed on large, intense temperature gradients.

Snow will arrive Thursday later in the afternoon and last into Friday night.
Snow will arrive Thursday later in the afternoon and last into Friday night.Tropical Tidbits

The upcoming storm will not only not be large, it is actually a series of small storms riding along the boundary to our south. This means it is going to last quite a while.

The snow should arrive sometime Thursday afternoon or evening with on-and-off snow lasting into the evening Friday and it’s wouldn’t surprise me if there’s even some snow overnight Friday night.

A temperature gradient over the ocean with help spawn our snow Thursday.
A temperature gradient over the ocean with help spawn our snow Thursday.WeatherBell

You might think at this point that over 24 hours of snow is going to yield a lot, but because the snow will be falling relatively lightly by the time it’s all said and done I still think 4-7 inches in total is what most of us will see. There will be less over northern New England and less over Cape Cod and the Islands.

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When you think of cleaning up this upcoming storm I would plan on doing it in perhaps two different cleanups, one Friday morning and another one Saturday morning. If the snow winds down early enough Friday evening you could do it then but it won’t matter if you wait.

We should start to see the sky clearing Saturday with sunshine returning fully for Sunday. It’s not going to be warm this weekend, with temperatures about five to eight degrees below average. Typical highs would be in the lower 40s this time of year and we will stay in the low-to-mid 30s over the weekend.

There’s likely to be a bit of a pattern change sometime next week with somewhat more seasonable conditions. I don’t see any big rain or snow events in our future after this late-week storm.