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Dave Epstein

Snow Wednesday could make for messy evening commute

A woman walked through the snow in Boston Sunday.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

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There’s a winter storm warning well north and west of Boston for Wednesday but just a winter weather advisory as you head toward the city. This is because the snow, which will start during the middle part of the morning, will quickly change to rain over Cape Cod and the Islands and that rain line is going to push northward during the afternoon.

A burst of snow then rain moves into southern New England Wednesday. WeatherBell

This storm has a lot of moisture and a difference of just two to three hours in terms of snow changing to rain would be the equivalent of that many inches as well. This is going to be a heavier and wetter snow, and, with the change to rain, it’s only going to become even more difficult to move as time goes on Wednesday afternoon into the night. This means you should try to remove the snow as soon as possible during the change to rain.

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Preliminary snow totals look to be heaviest west of Interstate 495 and north of the Mass. Pike.

I don’t expect the Wednesday morning commute to be affected. However, the Wednesday evening commute could be a slushy mess. The snow will arrive mid-morning, and I expect a change-over in the late afternoon in Boston. This will limit snow totals. This isn’t a big Nor’easter, but the potential exists for 6 to 12 inches where the precipitation stays all snow, most likely in southern New Hampshire, Maine, and much of Vermont.

Logan Airport probably won’t shut down, but some flights probably will be delayed or canceled during the middle of the day Wednesday.

We’ll get a pretty good burst of snow during the middle part of Wednesday, with accumulation rates approaching an inch an hour for a couple of hours at least.

The moisture equivalent from the snow and rain will equal about an inch of water. This is quite heavy for February.WeatherBell

This storm is part of a series of storms affecting New England over the next two weeks. I’ve written about the fact that winter isn’t over and an active jet stream seems very likely through the middle of the month. The challenge with these upcoming systems is going to be the rain-snow lines and the amount of cold air in place. Latest indications are that milder air might win out on many of these upcoming systems.

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The probability of a wetter than average mid-February is highest over New England.NOAA

It’s not surprising that we’re getting a storm this week. We’ve had snow the first two weeks of February for the past several years, and, of course, this week is also the 40th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978. Climate normals are calculated over a 30-year period, but it’s of interest that since 2000, February has been snowier than January on average. Of course, the February two years ago skewed the average a bit.