Remember how bad the flooding was during the Jan. 4 storm? A nor’easter that’s barreling toward the region could be worse, forecasters and officials said.
“The storm is shaping up to be more severe than the storm on Jan. 4,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a 1 p.m. press briefing Thursday afternoon.
The storm, which is expected to arrive in New England on Thursday night, will bring heavy rain and powerful winds that will flood coastal communities, National Weather Service meteorologists said.
Forecasters warned that flooding from the storm could pose a potentially “life-threatening situation” and that entire homes could be destroyed or severely destroyed. Officials also urged those in evacuation zones not to wait out the storm in their homes.
Here’s a look, in maps and images, at how bad forecasters expect the storm to be.
It’s so nice out today. Is there really a storm coming?
Officials are warning locals not to be fooled: This storm has the potential to be devastating.
“If you look outside, it’s hard to believe what this is going to look like and be like,” Baker said Thursday afternoon, adding: “This is New England. Wait 15 minutes, the weather changes.”
The weather service is apparently trying to also make sure residents are wising up to the potential damage the storm could bring. The agency tweeted out images of what moderate and major flooding — which is forecast for the region — looks like in reality.
The storm is going to undergo rapid intensification Thursday night and Friday, according to meteorologist David Epstein, so you’ll probably be hearing the words “bombogenesis” and “bomb cyclone” in reference to the storm.
When will the storm arrive, and when will it move out?
The storm is expected to arrive in Connecticut around 9 p.m. Thursday and move into Massachusetts by midnight, according to a projection the National Weather Service sent on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, high tides will hit in the late morning Friday and again around midnight Friday, with winds reaching 80 miles per hour in some areas, NWS meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell said.
The precipitation is expected to ease by Friday night, but strong winds will linger Saturday, forecasters wrote. There will also be high tides around noon Saturday, around midnight Saturday, and around 1 p.m. Sunday.
How bad is flooding going to be? Will my community be affected?
Forecasters issued a coastal flood warning from 9 a.m. Friday through 3 a.m. Sunday along the Massachusetts coast, as well as the Cape and Islands.
Starting Friday morning, heavy rains will fall during at least four high tide cycles. The heaviest rain will fall into Friday evening with 2 to 4 inches expected, especially in southeastern Massachusetts, forecasters wrote.
Heavy rain could also result in urban and some river/small stream flooding across southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island from Friday morning into the afternoon, forecasters said.
Are there really going to be hurricane-force winds?
You bet. The weather service Thursday morning issued a hurricane-force-wind watch, which means there is a risk of winds of 74 miles per hour or greater, for waters off the Cape and the Islands Friday.
With such high winds, damages to trees, power lines, and property are likely, forecasters wrote. Residents should also be prepared for potential power outages.
The weather service also uploaded a composite of maps that shows where each specific hazardous area is for the storm, including wind.
What about snow?
Although flooding has been the main caution leading up to the storm, forecasters do note that there is the potential for snowfall.
In central and western Massachusetts, especially at higher elevations, the precipitation might arrive as heavy snow that could knock down power lines and cause power outages. If rain changes to snow, forecasters caution that snow totals in Boston could reach 6 inches and as much as 17 inches in Pittsfield.
Here’s the worst-case scenario for snowfall, according to the most recent National Weather Service prediction map.
But before you keel over, note that there is a one in 10 chance that snowfall could actually reach these amounts.
This map shows the actual expected snowfall in the region.
And here’s the low-end prediction for snow.
John R. Ellement of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Elise Takahama contributed to this report.