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State: Near-Blizzard Conditions Possible

Dukes County updates us on what state emergency officials and the National Weather Service are saying about a winter storm that could bring white-out conditions Sunday, followed by a cold snap Sunday night.

The following winter storm update from Massachusetts Emergency Management was circulated by Charles Cotnoir, Director of Dukes County Emergency Management, Saturday night:

The National Weather Service in Taunton has provided the following forecast update on the winter storm that is moving into the state and will last into Sunday afternoon.  

Please note that the snowfall totals have been increased in some areas of the central, eastern and southeastern parts of the state.

Please also note the snowfall rates and strong winds may cause white-out and near-blizzard conditions.

From the National Weather Service in Taunton: 

Here is an update on the winter storm that has now begun across the eastern half of southern New England. 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Heavy snow expected over Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts
  • Near-Blizzard conditions possible over Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard Sunday morning to early afternoon
  • Potentially damaging wind gusts over Cape Cod and the Islands. Power outages expected.
  • Sharp western cutoff of precipitation...will make for tough snowfall accumulation forecast; changes possible
  • High Wind Warning is in effect for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket.  
  • Power outages expected.
  • Wind Advisory is in effect along the coastal areas of MA and RI, except the Cape and Islands (in High Wind Warning)
  • Storm Warnings in effect for all coastal waters except for Boston Harbor and Narragansett Bay, where Gale Warnings are posted.

SNOW: 

  • At 430 PM, precipitation extended in a band from eastern MA southwestward to the Carolinas. 
  • It was snowing across much of eastern portions of southern New England, but with above-freezing temperatures, not much was sticking. 
  • As we go through tonight and into Sunday, the intensity will gradually increase.  
  • Models show the most intense batch of snowfall occurring from near daybreak through about noon over southeasternmost New England.  
  • Our forecast calls for the snow to linger into the late afternoon/early Sunday evening in those areas. 
  • Snowfall totals will generally range from less than an inch in western portions of the region... to 3 to 6 inches in the Advisory areas... 6 to 8 inches in the Warning area, except up to 10 inches on Cape Cod 
  • It is possible that it could come down in one big thump...up to 6 inches or more in 6 hours on the Cape and Islands. 
  • Not sure, though, if visibilities and winds will coincide to be a blizzard for 3 hours, so for now will call it "near-blizzard" there. 
  • We are concerned about the sharp cutoff to the northwest.  While Boston is in the forecast for 6-8 inches, it is on the dividing line between a lot of snow to the southeast and a lot less to the northwest...stay tuned. 
  • One of our models does show even higher amounts of snowfall for southeastern areas, but the majority are in the range that we are currently forecasting (or a little less).  So, our confidence is moderate at this time. 

WINDS: 

  • Gusts to 40 to 50 mph will be common along the entire coast, except sustained winds could reach 40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph on Cape Cod and Nantucket...mainly Sunday. 
  • Strong winds...gusting to 25 to 40 mph from the northwest will be common across all of southern New England Sunday night and continuing into Monday. 

TEMPERATURES: 

  • Highs will be in the 20s Sunday except near 32 on the Islands.  Lows Sunday night will plummet to the single digits northwest and in the teens elsewhere...creating wind chill indices from 0 to -10 degrees in the interior Sunday night. 
  • Also, astronomical tides are relatively low, so even with a surge of up to 2 feet, coastal flooding is not expected.  
  • With 15-18 foot seas lurking offshore, we could see some splashover at the times of high tide in eastern MA Sunday.

Click "Keep me posted" to be notified when we publish more news about this storm.

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