We have been banging the “cold and potentially active” drum for a while regarding the weather for late January and early February. There is little doubt that a cold pattern is developing for most of the country, and it seems that there will be a storm that hits instead of nearly missing this weekend. It may not satisfy the snow-lovers in Southeastern New England as the setup and track suggests some mixing from the coast to I-95, but inland stands to get hit pretty hard based on the latest guidance.
There are a few important concerns about the storm. First, there is not a lot of very cold air to the north of the storm, and if it tracks close to Nantucket, there will likely be enough warm air drawn into the storm for a mix and dry slot to reach the coast and probably I-95. Conversely, the lack of cold air to the north makes a weaker baroclinic zone in the zone. The upshot of this is you don’t have a stark contrast between the warm/cold air, and the moderate to heavy precipitation may not extend as far from the center as it can with late-January storms in the Atlantic Ocean.
At this point, we’re expecting a relatively quick-hitting significant storm on Saturday. It will probably not last more than 12 hours, but the precipitation may be heavy at times Saturday afternoon and early evening. The best chance of several inches of snow is from I-95 to Worcester County, with some snow, a wintry mix, and maybe even rain southeast of I-95. It’s too early to say that there will not be 6″+ of snow from Providence to Boston, but the latest information suggests that axis could be a little farther inland.