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Nor’easter: New storm track has bulk of snow missing the Boston area

Higher accumulations are forecast for southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island

A plow truck rounds the Foxboro Common as snow begins to fall on February 13.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

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The thing I love about weather is that as well as we can predict it, we can’t predict it perfectly and the past 24 hours has been a perfect example. We had a big storm track change after reviewing additional data, and it appears that, in fact, the lower impact storm is what is in the cards for Tuesday.

Some areas, especially well north of Boston, may miss the storm entirely and the city should still end up with a couple of inches to perhaps as much as 5 inches if it came close enough. The bottom line is that the idea of a foot of snow in the city is off the table.


There will be a tight gradient of maybe 20 to 30 miles between 2 and 5 inches, so the bands can ultimately end up off (north-south) from these, but you get the idea. The precipitation likely starts as rain or a mix of rain and snow before the atmosphere cools a bit down at the surface. Should be pretty straightforward commute this morning.

New snowfall totals for Southern New England on Tuesday.Dave Epstein

Expected snowfall accumulation

• 6 to 10 inches -- Southern Plymouth County and most of the Cape

• 4 to 8 inches -- Southeastern Mass., Rhode Island and Connecticut

• 2 to 5 inches -- Boston area, suburbs and portions of western Mass.

• Coating to 2 inches -- South of Mass Pike, western Mass.

The European model had been showing the bulk of the storm staying well south of the region and tracking further out to sea. You might wonder why we didn’t just go with the European model from the beginning and the answer is this: Although it’s a good model, it’s not always correct and you have to look at all the data. There was significant enough evidence showing very heavy snow Tuesday. Discounting the other models outright wouldn’t have been prudent.


Perhaps you also wonder whether this could shift back. It is unlikely, although not impossible. The reason? Once models start converging on a trend, and in this case it’s a trend for a less impactful storm, that is usually what happens.

A storm will bring some snow and rain to Southern New England Tuesday before moving out to sea Tuesday night.COD Weather

Snow should arrive in the morning but will likely start as a mixture of snow and rain in the city. It may even be all rain south of the city toward the Cape in the Islands for quite a few hours. Eventually, it will mix with and change over to snow and that’s when the bulk of the accumulation will occur -- later in the morning through the afternoon.

The storm then winds down between 5 and 7 p.m.

Precipitation will overspread the area Tuesday morning, likely just around or after sunrise. Rain will change to snow in Boston during the morning.WeatherBELL

At times where it is snowing heaviest, it could come down at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour, making travel very difficult because visibility will be reduced.

A winter storm warning is in effect Tuesday for the Boston area and eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, the Cape and the Islands as well as Rhode Island and Connecticut. A winter weather advisory is in effect for central and western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

Also with this storm, winds will increase in the afternoon and become quite gusty for Cape Cod and the Islands and even the immediate shoreline. With the heavy wet nature of the snow, there could still be some scattered power outages, although with total snowfall being less than originally thought means the power issue will not be as much of a problem.


Winds will be gusty along the coastline Tuesday afternoon and early evening before diminishing.WeatherBELL

There’s likely to be minor to borderline moderate coastal flooding at the time of high tide, certainly nothing extensive.

Boston Harbor is forecast to experience minor coastal flooding for two high tides -- one on Tuesday and one early Wednesday.NOAA

The storm clears out Tuesday night and it’s back to sunshine on Wednesday along with colder air and temperatures in the 30s.

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