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Significant Weekend Snow Storm Could Be A Blizzard

2/12/15 BOSTON (CBS) - Where is your breaking point? Are you already there? Do you know?

This winter is putting us all to the test like never before. The last three weeks have been just about as mentally and physically challenging as the weather can get here in the winter. Our patience and resolve our being pushed to the max. There is a breaking point, there has to be.  Just look at our crowded streets, the failing commuter rail, heck the snow piles in your own driveway.

Boston Snow
(Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

We are getting dangerously close. Several roofs have already collapsed. Snow blower repair shops are overflowing. Schools will be lucky to get out before July. How much more can our region take? Will one more big storm push us over the edge? Two?

I gotta say, up until this point, I have been extremely impressed.

Consider that we have received more snow in the last 3 weeks than in any stretch ever before in more than 120 years of record keeping.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

We literally have NEVER experienced anything remotely like this in our lifetimes or in our parents' lifetimes, or their parents.  And yet, for the most part, our roads remain passable. Our driveways are shoveled and our resolve is strong.

I wish I could say that we made it. That the pattern is changing and the worst is over. Sadly it is not.

We are now tracking what looks to be another significant blow this weekend. Another nor'easter. Another potential blizzard.

Right now there is a piece of atmospheric energy in the far Northwest Territories of Northern Canada. Even though it is nearly 2,000 miles from Boston, just about every piece of computer model guidance is taking this "storm" from the Arctic Ocean to just off our shore in the next 72 hours.

There is some disagreement as to the exact track and where the most dramatic impacts will be, but it appears that avoiding a sizeable storm here is no longer on the table.

The "ceiling" for this storm is extremely high. This is not just a snow event like our storm from earlier this week. This storm will likely have significant winds associated with it, creating several additional concerns from blizzard conditions to power outages to property damage.

Wind map
(WBZ-TV graphic)


Saturday Afternoon:

Snow begins. Innocently enough at first. Just some light snow as the storm approaches from the west and begins to transfer its energy offshore. A coating to an inch or two by 7 p.m. Saturday.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Saturday Night:

The storm rapidly deepens just off our South Coast. Several inches of snow are likely overnight. The winds do not ramp up just yet. Total snow by 7 a.m. Sunday something like 3-6 inches.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Sunday Morning:

This is where things get serious.

It appears as though the storm will undergo bombogenesis (a rapid deepening and intensification) just to our east and in the Gulf of Maine. The winds will really start to crank out of the north. Wind gusts along the coastline could easily top 50 mph and be near hurricane force over Cape Cod (70 mph+).

(WBZ-TV graphic)

An intense band of snow will likely setup along the Maine coast. This is where the worst of the storm will be felt. They will almost certainly be measuring the snow in feet up in Maine. Some heavy snow bands will likely rotate from north to south down the coast and into southern New England at this time.

Blizzard conditions are highly likely in spots on Sunday morning.

The whipping wind and steady snow will create near zero visibility at times. Snow will be nearly impossible to measure. Expect an additional 3-to-6 inches Sunday morning. The highest amounts right along the coast include the Cape, Boston, and certainly up into Maine.

Sunday Afternoon:

The snow intensity lets up a bit but the winds continue to be a concern. They may be slightly lower than their peak in the morning, but still strong enough to whip the snow around and create scattered whiteout conditions.

Additional snow accumulation should only be a few inches, but the winds will make it seem like the storm is still raging.

Sunday Evening:

The snow is over. The winds will gradually slacken but remain gusty (20-to-40 mph perhaps) all night long.


Snow map
(WBZ-TV graphic)

Preliminary estimates:

12"+ all of Eastern MA (Worcester to Boston)…could easily close in on 18" in spots

6-12" Western MA due to the distance away from the storm

24"+ in the state of Maine, which appears to be the jackpot zone for snow accumulation with this event. There may be 3 feet of snow in spots!


The high tide of greatest concern is Sunday around 7:30 a.m.  Winds will be mainly northerly but very strong. Significant beach erosion is likely along with pockets of minor-moderate coastal flooding, especially in northerly facing beaches (Cape Cod Bay).

Coast map
(WBZ-TV graphic)

We are still nearly 3 days away from the peak of this storm arriving here in southern New England. And again, it is currently 2,000 miles away.

Things can, and likely, will change.

However, a miss or low impact storm does not appear to be in the cards.

Use the next few days to prepare as best you can. Get as much snow off the roof as possible. Shave down those giant piles at the end of your driveways. And think about making alternate travel plans late Saturday night and Sunday if you are heading out. Of course, stay tuned for updates. And stay safe.

Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ

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