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FIRST ALERT: Major Winter Storm Could Drop 1-2 Feet of Snow in Some Areas

The storm begins Saturday night, with heavy snow expected through Sunday morning

What to Know

  • The storm begins Saturday night, with snow spreading in from west to east. The heaviest snow will fall late Saturday until dawn on Sunday.
  • At some points it will snow at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour, making overnight travel unpleasant.
  • Greater Boston is expected to receive about 6 to 9 inches of snow, while areas outside the city could see anywhere from 1 to 2 feet.

New England’s first major winter storm of 2019 is on the way this weekend.

The storm begins Saturday night, after dinner, with snow spreading in from west to east. The heaviest snow of the entire storm for southern New England will fall late Saturday night until dawn on Sunday.

At some points it will snow at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour, making overnight travel unpleasant.

By dawn we will start to flip over to a wintry mix around Boston and points south, while snow continues to rip along and north of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

In this case, the “wintry mix” will consist of sleet and freezing rain. Remember that sleet consists of the small balls of ice that bounce around, while freezing rain coats things in ice.

By mid-morning we’ll likely have that wintry mix extending as far north as the Merrimack Valley and parts of southern New Hampshire. Later in the day it may creep as far north as the Maine Coast.

That’s key to the forecast, because once the sleet begins, accumulation will dramatically slow down. The sleet accumulates much slower than snow.

Eventually, we’ll even go over to plain rain for a time along the South Coast, Cape and Islands.

Also by mid- to late-morning we’ll watch the coastline. High astronomical tides will combine with an onshore wind gusting 40 to 50 mph to create minor to moderate coastal flooding.

During the afternoon, the steadiest precipitation gradually winds down, but winds will snap around to the northwest. That will draw in a blast of cold air, resulting in a quick freeze around the area.

Moral of the story: shovel early!

It’s possible we have a few breaks in the clouds in time for the total lunar eclipse that happens Sunday night.

With all of that in mind, let’s talk snowfall totals:

For the Cape, Islands, and South Coast, where we start as snow and quickly go to rain, expect 1 to 3 inches. Again, just watch for that refreeze late Sunday.

For the South Shore, much of Rhode Island, and a lot of Connecticut, 3 to 6 inches of snow will fall Saturday night into early Sunday before we then go over to the mix of rain and sleet.

From right around Boston into parts of Northern Connecticut expect 6 to 9 inches before the mix.

Along and north of the Massachusetts Turnpike, to parts of the North Shore, we expect 9 to 12 inches of snow.

Where we stay mostly snow — the fluffy variety — from Northwestern Massachusetts into much of Southern New Hampshire and coastal Maine, we’ll land in the 12 to 18 inch range.

Far Northern New England, around ski country, will get a widespread 1 to 2 feet of snow.

Keep in mind, these totals may still fluctuate a bit depending on the storm’s final track. A move farther north would bring less snow to the Boston area, while a move south would provide a bit more cold and snow.

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