David Epstein: A significant storm could develop along the coastline this weekend

"This far in advance, I would say the odds favor a significant storm starting this weekend."

boston snow
People wait for a train at the Harvard Avenue MBTA station in Boston on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022 as snow falls. Maddie Malhotra / The New York Times

The weather will be relatively quiet through much of the workweek, but that all changes as we head into the weekend with the possibility of a significant storm system developing.

A weak weather system brought a little bit of snow through sunrise on Tuesday. It will actually be fairly mild Tuesday with temperatures reaching within a couple of degrees of 40, along with some melting.

It turns colder for Wednesday and Thursday, but it’s dry. That’s pretty much the summary of the weather through most of the workweek. Things will become more interesting as we head for the weekend.


Most of the models are agreeing there will be a storm system developing along the Atlantic coastline Friday night and Saturday. There’s going to be a lot of conflicting information being posted over the next several days. This far out, there can be wild swings in the forecast with predictions ranging from the storm heading out to sea to a major snowstorm.

This far in advance, I would say the odds favor a significant storm starting this weekend, and because tides are astronomically high, we are going to have to keep an eye on how this situation unfolds. It does not look like the storm is going to be prolonged, but even one or two high tide cycles with a major system can cause significant issues along the coastline.

Precipitation type can also be a forecast issue with large storms. Snow, mixed precipitation, and rain can occur across the entire area, and where the lines are between these types is anybody’s guess.

So with all of the uncertainty, what should you be thinking about? At this point if you are a cautious person, I advise moving airline flights you might have anywhere from the second half of Friday to Sunday morning. My reasoning is that if the storm is impacting the Northeast quarter it’s going to have effects to our south early, and if it’s a major system, impact will linger into Sunday. It’s important to know this is like buying insurance: You may not need it but you’ll be glad if you do.


If you’re wondering why I might be speaking about a storm so far in advance, it’s because most of our models from the Canadian to the American to the European are all raising the storm flag. Often when you have all the models agreeing, it gives more confidence in these long-range forecasts.

Forecasting is going to be challenging this week, and I recommend staying in tune with the ever-changing variables. What you hear on Tuesday and Wednesday may ultimately be quite different from what we’re thinking about by Friday morning.


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