Confidence increases that winter storm will hit this weekend, could bring a foot or more of snow

·2 min read

Computer models continue to "boost confidence" that Southern New England will get hit with "a high impact winter storm" Saturday, the National Weather Service says.

The storm could bring a foot or more of snow and blizzard conditions to the region, according to AccuWeather.

"A winter storm is expected on Saturday," the Weather Service says in a Hazardous Weather Outlook. "Heavy snow, strong winds, coastal flooding and dangerous seas are possible. Storm track and intensity will determine the exact impacts."

The "powerful coastal storm Friday night into Saturday night...will likely impact at least a portion of the region with heavy snow, strong winds, coastal flooding and dangerous seas," the Weather Service says. "However, still some uncertainty on the exact storm track and intensity, which will have a direct impact on snow amounts and other storm details."

This AccuWeather graphic shows the potential for a foot or more of snow and blizzard conditions for Rhode Island and most of Massachusetts.
This AccuWeather graphic shows the potential for a foot or more of snow and blizzard conditions for Rhode Island and most of Massachusetts.

More: Does your town have a parking ban? Here's where to leave your car during a snowstorm in RI

The storm is expected to intensify as it moves up the Atlantic coast, "packing a lot of snow and wind on its backside," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno says in a report on the AccuWeather website.

Forecasters say the storm will intensify enough to be classified as a "bomb cyclone," undergoing bombogenesis, which happens "when the central pressure of a storm crashes by 0.71 of an inch (24 millibars) or greater within 24 hours," AccuWeather says. "When the pressure plummets, winds rush in toward the center of the storm at a faster pace. The winds can carry a great deal of moisture with them and unleash that in the form of copious amounts of precipitation. If the air is cold enough, heavy snow and blizzard conditions can ensue."

More: Weather Service: Weekend storm could bring 8 to 12 inches of snow to Southern New England

There's a good chance the storm could knock out power. AccuWeather says, "The storm could easily produce widespread frequent gusts between 40 and 60 mph or greater in coastal areas. In coastal locations where the strongest winds occur, wind gusts could reach hurricane force, forecasters say. Hurricane-force winds are rated as 74 mph or greater."

The biggest questions revolve around the storm's track, which will determine where the heaviest snow falls.

"The exact track of the storm will...determine which part of New England will be buried under a foot or more of snow," AccuWeather says.

The Weather Service says, "The combination of strong northeast winds and high seas will bring storm surges that, if coinciding with high tide, would lead to minor or moderate coastal flooding. A difference in storm timing of as little as 6 hours would have a large impact on coastal flooding and erosion concerns. Stay tuned."

jperry@providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7614

On Twitter: @jgregoryperry

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This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: How much snow on Saturday? Models project blizzard conditions in RI