Another storm could bring snow to the region this weekend

These are the two tracks it could follow.

People walk beneath snow-covered trees on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall during a winter storm Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the Back Bay.
People walk beneath snow-covered trees on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall during a winter storm Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the Back Bay. –Michael Dwyer / AP

If you’re ready for springtime weather, prepare to wait a little bit longer – because there’s a chance we’re going to get some more snow this weekend.

Spring technically begins Monday morning. But what is spring in New England, exactly? Is it the time when the sun spreads light in equal parts on both hemispheres? Or is the equinox just semantics? Some say spring begins on March 1st. Others see St. Patrick’s Day as the turning point. Maybe it’s the home opener at Fenway Park. Maybe it’s when your nose hairs stop freezing on the way to work. Or perhaps it’s just the moment we finally take snow out of the forecast and move on to pollen outlooks!

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Whatever your criteria for spring, it probably doesn’t feel or look like it as you read this. Ponds are freezing back up and snow covers most of the landscape. I wish I could say a rapid melt was on the horizon with full steam ahead to greener pastures, but there are some bumps in the road over the next couple of weeks.

This is a long way of saying that, yes, there is some more snow in the forecast – but exactly how much isn’t set in stone yet. We’re watching a system heading our way this weekend that should get the flakes flying again. However, some good news for the winter weary: This time, it’s not a powerful coastal storm or major event. We do need to keep tabs on it over the next few days, though, as there are two potential outcomes.

Track one brings a round of generally light snow into the area Saturday afternoon with some minor accumulations. A nuisance, but no big deal. A wave of low pressure forms along the front and swings to the coast, but too far east to bring us anything more than some snow showers and wind on Sunday. In this scenario, we get a wintry weekend but won’t need to break out the plows and snowblowers again.

A snapshot of the storm system this weekend showing low pressure to our east — and looking likely that it’ll be far enough east to keep the big snow away from us.

A snapshot of the storm system this weekend showing low pressure to our east — and looking likely that it’ll be far enough east to keep the big snow away from us.

Track two is looking a little less likely, but nevertheless, we should be wary of it. In this case, the wave of low pressure curls up close to Cape Cod and hangs out for Sunday. We still get some of those Saturday snow showers, but then also pick up plowable snow on Sunday. The highest odds of this happening would be across eastern Massachusetts with a pretty small risk of snow in western and central New England. Again, this wouldn’t be a major storm, but would have a higher impact on Sunday plans.

The European model’s odds of 3” of snow this weekend which is about 50/50 — not a huge signal for a big snowfall, which is probably a relief to many.

The European model’s odds of 3 inches of snow this weekend which is about 50/50 — not a huge signal for a big snowfall, which is probably a relief to many.

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It should be clear by the end of this week which situation will actually unfold, but I’m leaning toward the lower-snow scenario for now.

As for temperatures, a big warm-up compared to the past two weekends. But. . . that’s not saying a whole lot. Most of us have failed to warm up to the freezing mark for two straight weekends, with some barely even getting into the 20s. Several record cold readings have been notched during this time at climate sites like Hartford, Worcester, Concord, and Providence. So the “warm-up” is all relative. Highs get into the mid-30s both Saturday and Sunday, with maybe even some upper 30s across southeastern Massachusetts. (Break out the beach towels!) But hey, at least it’s progress. Just might need an extra Irish-knit along the parade route in South Boston on Sunday.

This graphic shows a cold pattern continuing for the eastern US through next week with all the warm air out west.

This graphic shows a cold pattern continuing for the eastern US through next week with all the warm air out west.

I have to admit that overall, this is a good thing. It got cold just in the nick of time if you’re a fan of summer produce and gardening. If the record warmth had stuck around for another four or five days, peach buds would have swelled and more plant life would have surged into action much too early. It looks like we may have switched back to winter weather in time to limit damage and keep everything asleep until the more appropriate late-March to early-April time frame. This bout of cold will prolong the maple season after an early surge and will likely bring about an extended (and delicious) maple sugaring season. Nearly all New England ski areas saw over a foot of snow this week, with some closer to two feet — right in time for spring break. And finally, a healthy snow pack brings down the early spring brush fire risk and helps fill up ponds and marshes. While it definitely isn’t enjoyable hoofing around outside at the moment, there are always some silver linings to seek out.

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