David Epstein: What to expect from Wednesday’s nor’easter

The heaviest snowfall should occur after 9 p.m. through about 3 a.m. Thursday.

Littleton, MA:  3/7/2018: A truck is pictured laying down salt on Route 2 westbound.  Another winter storm is predicted to hit the area this afternoon and tonight.  (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
–Jim Davis / The Boston Globe

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It’s been several days since this nor’easter was forecast, and, during that time, the big question has been how close to the coast the snow would come. West of Interstate 495 was always going to see the heavy snow, but it’s been very unclear what would happen within about 25 to 30 miles of the coastline.

The latest trends indicate the storm will indeed pass farther east, letting colder air into Boston and changing the rain to heavy, wet snow Wednesday evening. This means a higher chance of power outages closer to the coast from the weight of the snow. There will probably be less snow on the roads near the coast, but it’ll still be a plowable amount. The heaviest snowfall should occur after 9 p.m. through about 3 a.m. Thursday.


Notice the band of 4 to 8 inches now runs through Boston. Obviously this means that the city will see more snow than was forecast earlier. This is based on colder air working into the system during the evening hours.

The changeover will probably occur between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the city, and earlier north and west. The 2- to 5-inch band is just south of the city. Logan Airport probably ends up getting around 4 to 6 inches of snow.

The nor’easter is now beginning to hit much of Southern New England with a wallop of snow and heavy rain. Up to now, there’s just been spotty precipitation, but the heavier elements are arriving for the commute home.

It still looks as though the interior is going to get hit quite hard, with 6 to 12 inches quickly ramping up to as much as a foot-and-a-half of snow as you head toward New Hampshire and Maine. New York City already has several inches of snow as well from this storm, and travel has been affected dramatically in that area.

After 3 a.m., the precipitation will begin to taper off. It won’t completely end, but it will be much lighter. When you get up Thursday morning, expect to see some snow showers still left on radar. After a difficult evening commute Wednesday, the morning commute will be better, although certainly not anywhere near normal.



Power outages

The heavy, wet snow, combined with gusty winds, will lead to some power outages, especially in areas where the wind is strongest, like the coast — where gusts could exceed 50 miles per hour.

Coastal flooding

Some coastal communities have been experiencing flooding since Friday, when the last nor’easter hit the region.

There is a coastal flood advisory and coastal flood warning posted for the region, and the warning areas could see moderate flooding during high tide overnight. This is especially true for areas where seawalls and dunes have been breached.

Next storm

There is a chance of another nor’easter Monday, but it’s way too early to know whether it’ll even affect us at all and whether it would be rain or snow. It could just go out to sea. The weekend is looking quite nice, with sunshine and pleasant early March temperatures.


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