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The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore is in Boston to report on the winter storm — and people think that’s a sure-sign ‘we’re in for it’

The popular meteorologist has become something of a marker for how intense storms could be, since he chases the biggest ones around the country.

The Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore has become something of a marker for how intense storms could be, since he chases the biggest ones around the country.John C. Whitehead

If the nearly emptied stores shelves, the elevated “French Toast Alert” as people scramble to buy milk, eggs and bread, and disconcerting predictions like “staggering” and “possibly historic” weren’t enough to convince you that that this weekend’s impending snowstorm could be a doozy, consider this: the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore is in Boston to cover the winter blast.

“This is bitter-sweet. I love that you’re coming here,” someone tweeted to Cantore this week after he revealed he would be covering the major storm from Massachusetts. “But I also hate that you’re coming here because that means ... we’re in for it.”

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Known for his enthusiastic live shots in the middle of intensifying storm events, Cantore has become something of an omen for people when trying to assess just how serious the weather conditions might get.

Think of him as the writing on the wall.

“Uh, oh,” the Charlotte Observer wrote earlier this month as rumors swirled like heavy snowflakes that Cantore was headed to the region for a storm. “If he’s in your neck of the woods, face it, you’re about to get socked with really bad stuff, if it hasn’t already struck.”

The Asheville Citizen Times called him “the harbinger of hurricanes, soothsayer of snowstorms” when he started tweeting from the area recently.

Louisiana once put up a message on its digital highway displays before a hurricane hit, begging Cantore to “Stay home!”

And on Google, when you type “Jim Cantore Weather Channel,” you’re offered additional search query suggestions like “Where is Jim Cantore now?” and “Where is Jim Cantore going next?”

Sorry, Boston. The Cantore-ometer has arrived.

Cantore, who helped a woman get her car out of a flooded parking lot during a storm here in 2018, confirmed people’s tongue-in-cheek fears Friday morning when The Weather Channel fired up its cameras to do a live shot of him standing along the harbor.

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Wearing a thick jacket, gloves, and a winter hat, he gave his predictions for this weekend’s storm.

“We got a ‘Snowicane’ heading up the East Coast and through here,” Cantore said. “At some point, between ten and six [on Saturday], we’re going to get into a band of snow ... where we’re looking at snowfall rates that could be anywhere from four to five inches per hour. That’s what we’re looking at. That is going to cripple everything.”

Parts of the state could see more than 20 inches of snow this weekend, according to the National Weather Service, with blizzard conditions expected in much of Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The storm is expected to arrive Saturday around midnight and continue into the evening. Officials are warning about the possibility of heavy snow, damaging winds, and coastal flooding.

Boston and surrounding communities declared snow emergencies on Friday afternoon, ahead of the storm’s arrival.

“This has the potential to be a historic storm, a huge one,” Mayor Michelle Wu said during a City Hall briefing. “The National Weather Service has already issued a blizzard warning for Boston, and we are expecting as much as 18 to 24 inches of snow and 40 to 50 miles-per-hour winds.”

While the forecast already had people scrambling to get bread, milk, and other storm necessities, it was Cantore’s sudden arrival to the region that seemed to seal the deal for some residents.

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@JimCantore is apparently in town. This does not bode well for Eastern Mass,” one person tweeted.

“If he is here, it is bad news,” another said.

“Jim’s in Boston,” someone else warned. “Hold on to your butts if you live there, folks!”

For his part, Cantore doesn’t seem to mind being pegged as a precursor of terrible storms. When someone tweeted that his presence was an indicator that the upcoming storm could be a “hum dinger,” he reveled in it like a weatherman witnessing thundersnow.

“I may borrow that!!” Cantore replied.

Maybe it will become The Weather Channel’s new slogan.

Amanda Kaufman and Shannon Larson of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him @steveannear.