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It will be a cold weekend, with snow for some south of Boston

Pedestrians brave freezing cold weather in Boston on Tremont and Stuart streets.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

There’s some interesting localized weather going on over the next 24 hours for folks south of Boston, parts of Plymouth County, Cape Cod, and the Islands.

You’ve likely heard of the lake effect snow machine, where places like Buffalo can end up with feet of snow in a matter of days, but did you know it can happen here, too? The process is such that the cold Arctic air is thrust over the unfrozen lake water (or ocean water), picking up moisture and depositing it in the form of heavy snow just downwind of the lakefront or west of the beaches.


Over the next couple of days, areas east of Lake Erie and Ontario as well as across the South Shore of Massachusetts will see lake and ocean effect snow.NOAA

We of course have a lot of water to our east but the air is often not cold enough — or the wind direction isn’t right — to bring ocean effect snow to the region. However, over the next 24 hours, bands of snow will move inland from the Atlantic, depositing anywhere from a coating to a few inches of snow across parts of the South Shore, Plymouth County, as well as the Cape. The situation is very localized, and you’ll be able to drive a couple of miles and go from a heavy band of snow to sunshine.

Snow showers are forecast south of Boston into Saturday.NOAA

For the rest of us, it looks as though there will be partly sunny skies with the brightest and sunniest areas to the north of the Mass Pike. Temperatures are going to be cold, mainly in the teens, over inland areas.

Cold morning lows Saturday will bring readings below zero well north and west of Boston.NOAA

It will be quite cold tonight but at least there won’t be any wind. Temperatures will fall down between zero and 10 degrees for the majority of us. Saturday, a storm system that had the potential to bring us wintery weather is not going to materialize and therefore we’re left with sunshine and temperatures in the 20s. It’s a little bit less cold on Sunday, with a blend of clouds and sun and readings around freezing.


We’ll have to watch another system sometime around Tuesday that could bring some rain or light snowfall before things clear out and cool off again for the middle of next week.

Looking at the longer-range forecast as we get toward February, a pattern change may move the part of the jet stream that has been bringing colder air to New England out west and bring us some moderating temperatures. Sometimes when you get these pattern changes, there can be a storm system marking the beginning of this new flow of the atmosphere. This is something we’ll have to watch for as we close out January and begin February.

The official outlook for February brings back milder than average air to the east.NOAA