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Storm may be ahead, but how big isn’t clear

Nancy Martens, left, and Nancy Bilodeau walked past a huge snow pile on Beach Avenue in Hull.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

After days of crippling snow that caused the MBTA to shut down Tuesday and led Governor Charlie Baker to activate the National Guard, Bay Staters saw only a dusting during the day on Wednesday, but a more significant storm may hit the region this weekend, the National Weather Service said.

The continuing snow, which had reached 78.5 inches by Wednesday, has vaulted winter 2014-2015 into the top 10 snowiest in Boston’s recorded history, according to the weather service. The worst was 1995-1996, with 107 inches.

While Wednesday brought minimal accumulation, the coming weekend storm could be another big one, though meteorologists were unsure just how big.


“There is the possibility that it could be significant, but we are still monitoring the development,” said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, a National Weather Service Meteorologist, Wednesday night.

“We’ll get model data overnight to help us … get a better handle and more details,” Vallier-Talbot said. “As each model comes in, we get more and more confident, and we’re waiting on that right now.”

On Wednesday, very light ocean-effect snow fell throughout the day in southeastern Massachusetts, but there was little accumulation, said Matt Doody, another weather service meteorologist

Wednesday’s snow, Doody said, was “certainly nothing like any of the storms we’ve seen. I would generally say it’s been an inch or less in any one location.”

Commuters should still take it slow, said Benjamin Sipprell, another weather service meteorologist, as many roads are slippery after enduring three major storms in a little more than two weeks.

“It’s a mess out there,” Sipprell said. “Even light snow can reduce visibility down to one or two miles.”

More snow showers are expected Thursday, with light accumulations of 1 to 3 inches across the Commonwealth, and possibly up to 4 inches on Cape Cod and the islands, said Doody. He said the outer arm of the Cape will likely see the greatest snowfall.


The storm will peak during the evening commute and overnight into Friday, forecasters said.

The snow should taper off in the early hours Friday, giving way to bitterly cold temperatures, especially in Central Massachusetts, where the wind chill could be as low as 15 degrees below zero, Doody said.

Friday’s highs will be in the teens, and lows will drop to the single digits and below zero at night, forecasters said.

In Boston, temperatures are expected to hit minus-2 Friday night to Saturday morning, while in parts of Western Massachusetts, temperatures could plummet to minus 8. Wind chill values could range from minus 5 to minus 15 across the state, Sipprell said.

The snowfall expected for Saturday and Sunday comes amid a record period for the Boston area, in which more than 6 feet of snow has fallen over a 30-day period, beating the previous record of 58.5 inches, which was set in 1978.

The storms have also combined to break the record for most snow over two weeks, with 64 inches.

The heavy snowfall has caused about 20 roof collapses, including a cave-in at a piano shop in Rockland that housed a piano once owned by Liberace and another at the Lincoln Building in downtown Hingham.

Aneri Pattani can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @apattani95. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.