FIRST ALERT: Nor'easter Could Cause White-Outs, Power Outages This Weekend

Snowfall rates will increase throughout Saturday and the wind could cause white-outs and power outages

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On the eve of a major nor’easter, creeping doubts can be your worst enemy. Will the storm “behave” as planned? Will the timing shift? And will the cold air materialize for snow?

The wheels can come off pretty quickly, and it’s important to realize that weather models simply simulate the atmosphere - they don’t account for every nuance. Forecasts can be tinkered and massaged from the first flakes to the last. And anyone who says they have every base covered is, quite literally, snowing you.

So we boldly forge ahead with our best game plan for the nor’easter late tonight and tomorrow.

We’re confident in everyone starting with rain. Highs today peak in the low 50s and the air near ground level is semi-mild (for this year). In the middle atmosphere, however, the cold is funneling into our storm. This will give the “injection” it needs to intensify rapidly and switch the rain to snow later tomorrow.

That turn will start in the higher elevations of western New England in the late morning and then slowly – or more abruptly depending on how quickly the storm deepens – work to the coast. The entire turn to snow at the water’s edge may not be completed until after midnight Saturday night (Sunday). By that point, many of us will have the lion’s share of the accumulation on the ground.

Backing up, the switchover won’t be pretty. Snowfall rates will increase throughout Saturday afternoon and evening, and it’s possible we could see white-outs with the wind. Travel will become difficult and wet snow will paste to everything. Power outages are possible – most likely where snow totals are highest – into Saturday night.

Speaking of wind, gusts could top 45-50 mph along the coast. As the storm deepens through Sunday morning, the focus for the strong wind will shift from the north and south shores to the Cape and Islands. The rest of Sunday remains windy as the storm pulls away into the Gulf of Maine.

Snowfall amounts present a challenge, and we’ve done our best to highlight the important points. Lines may shift and amounts may be altered slightly, but the bottom line is the plows will be out and the going will get rough tomorrow. Cold in the days after the storm promises to keep the ground white in many spots.

Updates throughout the day and during the storm. Have a safe weekend.

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