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    Boston’s first white Christmas in 14 years may or may not be a winter wonderland

    12/23/2017 - Somerville, MA - Freezing rain encased branches and cars alike on December 23, 2017. Photo by Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
    Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
    Freezing rain encased branches and cars alike on Saturday.

    Much of the state may get its first white Christmas in 14 years Monday, but a quickly evolving forecast has made it difficult to know exactly what coastal residents should expect.

    For many children in the area, though, any chance of snow on the holiday is cause for excitement.

    Conor and Quinn Bareng, siblings visiting Boston from Hawaii, were especially enthusiastic about the prospect of getting snow, having never seen it before.


    “I’m just going to stare out the window,” said Conor, 13. “It’s exciting seeing it for the first time.”

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    His 10-year-old sister, Quinn, said even though she lives in a tropical climate known more for palm trees and frangipani than snow, she has a Christmas sweater to be sure she can play outside.

    “I’m going to run up to the window and squish my face up against it if there’s snow tomorrow morning,” she said.

    A wintry mix turning into rain was expected overnight into Monday, followed by a band of snow that should bring 1 to 3 inches to Greater Boston between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., according to Benjamin Sipprell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

    Families waking up to open Christmas gifts should find powdery snow falling outside the window, as long as children don’t wake up too early, he said.


    “If they wake up earlier [than 7 a.m.] just say, ‘Go back to bed; it’s going to snow in a few. It will be a much more special time.’ . . . Don’t let them get up at like 4 or 5 in the morning,” Sipprell said.

    Higher amounts are expected west and north of the city, with some areas seeing 6 to 8 inches of snow.

    The northern edges of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Worcester, and Middlesex counties may see as much as 8 inches of snow, while 3 to 6 inches are expected for other areas north and west of I-95, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

    The snow and rain were expected be accompanied by strong winds that could cause power outages, and in some areas sleet and freezing rain could make roads more hazardous, said MEMA.

    Only a smattering of power outages remained across the region from Saturday’s storm on Sunday, according to online outage maps from Eversource and National Grid. But on Saturday night nearly 10,000 electric customers across the state lost power, as rain caused icy tree limbs to fall on power lines.


    The forecast suggested the area could see more outages, especially over Cape Cod and the Islands, where wind gusts could reach 65 miles per hour during the storm, according to MEMA. Gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour are expected to buffet most of Massachusetts, the agency said.

    Despite the potential downsides, many families gathered around the Frog Pond on Boston Common on Sunday said the snow would only improve their Christmas spirit.

    Gabriel Williams, 7, said opening gifts would be his first priority, but he would take a break then to go sledding. However, he expressed concern that the snow might reduce visibility for Santa Claus.

    “It might not be as easy for him to fly,” he said.

    The weather service cautioned that visibility concerns also apply to those without reindeer to guide them.

    The service issued a winter storm warning lasting until 1 p.m. Monday for western Essex, western Hampden and eastern Hampshire counties. The service also issued a winter weather advisory covering the same period for parts of northern Connecticut; central, northeastern, and western Massachusetts; and northern Rhode Island.

    Near the Frog Pond, Katja and Annika Szturma, sisters from Arlington, said they’re hoping for snow so they can go outside and play with their friends.

    “There’s this really big hill next to my school,” said Annika, 10. “It’s super awesome, so I’ll probably go sledding there and make a snowman, too.”

    Maya Hanley, 13, of Somerville, and her sister Fiona, 11, said they couldn’t remember the last time they woke up on Christmas morning to snow.

    “We haven’t had a white Christmas in so long,” Maya said.

    Boston last saw more than an inch of snow on Dec. 25 in 2003, according to meteorologist Joe DelliCarpini of the weather service, though the Hub received a dusting on Christmas 2012.

    The Massachusetts Department of Transportation asked residents to delay or minimize travel during the storm, drive slowly if they must go out, set aside extra time, and allow plenty of space between their vehicles and others, including snow removal equipment.

    State crews have been activated throughout the weekend to deal with snow and ice, MassDOT said, and were preparing Sunday by spreading brine and magnesium chloride on roadways. About 4,200 pieces of equipment, including about 2,100 snowplows and 1,300 plow/spreader combos, were available to treat and clear roads across the state if they are needed, MassDOT said.

    And at her family’s home, 12-year-old Rehana Guzman will be at the ready for shoveling duty, her mother, Romany Meas, said at the Frog Pond.

    “I do the shoveling, too, but I don’t mind because without the snow, Christmas isn’t the same,” Meas said. “It makes your cup of hot chocolate even tastier.”

    The prospect of shoveling left Rehana less than eager for snow, but she perked up when her family mentioned the possibility of an early morning snowball fight.

    “I’d probably get into it,” she said, “just to hit my brother.”

    Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox. Meyers can be reached