Two winter storms — the second more powerful than the first — are lining up to take aim at southeast New England while the region is trying to recover from the five to seven feet of snow it’s already seen this winter.
The first storm, currently bringing snow to the Great Lakes, will swing down through the Northeast on Wednesday night before intensifying off the East Coast. Light to moderate snow will begin early Thursday morning in the Northeast and last through most of the day, ending by Friday morning.
Fortunately for Boston, this storm is on the weaker side and is expected to track too far east to generate large snowfall amounts. As of Wednesday morning, the “most likely” snowfall forecast from the Weather Service in Boston for this storm was one to two inches, with the worst-case scenario being three inches around Boston and increasing to six inches on the Cape.
While Thursday’s weak storm will come as a relief to eastern Massachusetts, which has seen over 90 inches of snow in some locations, all eyes are turning toward the next winter blast, due to arrive Sunday.
The forecast is still very uncertain at this point, but Sunday’s stormy onslaught could prove to be the climax of winter for the Boston area.
As it currently stands, the track of this storm is nearly identical to Thursday’s but is forecast to deepen rapidly off the coast and linger there through most of Sunday. The coastal storm could churn up piercingly strong winds which, in combination with a surge of Arctic air, will push wind chills down to minus 30 and minus 40 pretty much everywhere north of and including Connecticut. Wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph could be widespread across New England on Sunday afternoon, leading to whiteout conditions in the heavier snow bands.
If the model forecasts are correct, blizzard conditions could grip Boston, Cape Cod and the rest of eastern Massachusetts for hours Sunday afternoon.
Boston racked up an additional 23.1 inches of snow through Monday, putting the city’s total so far this season at 77.3 inches. Monday’s storm pushed Boston past its previous 14-, 20-, 30- and 40-day snowfall records. Not even two weeks into the month, it is the third snowiest February on record.
With a total of 107.6 inches, 1995-1996 has long held the title of snowiest season on record, but this winter is giving it a run for its money. Of the 77.3 inches Boston has seen so far this winter, 64.4 inches has fallen since Jan. 27, alone, and the season has skyrocketed into ninth place in just two weeks.
On Wednesday morning, the Weather Service in Boston suggested getting used to the idea. “Winter is not coming to an end any time soon,” it said. “Temperatures expected to remain below-normal for quite some time. No confidence to assume this pattern will break any time soon.”