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Major snowstorm possible Thursday

Light snow could appear on New Year’s Eve

Dave Hayes operates a daily blog on Facebook (facebook.com/WesternMassWeather), where he produces hyper-local reports, answers questions, and keeps more than 20,000 followers informed and educated about the weather.

Happy New Year to one and all! I do hope that in all ways 2017 is a great year for you and yours.

We have a very active, stormy, and wintry pattern setting up for the next week, including some light upslope snows this (Wednesday) morning, a major snowstorm possible for Thursday and Thursday night, more upslope snows and windy conditions Friday and Friday night, light snow New Year’s Eve, and a wintry mix early next week. Now I’m winded!

For Wednesday, a small wave of low pressure with a flow off the eastern Great Lakes will have brought light snow showers and flurries to parts of the region and some coatings or light accumulations should have resulted. Partly sunny skies will develop, and highs will reach to near freezing. Lows could dip down into the teens if enough cloud breaks occur.

For Thursday, low pressure sets up near James Bay, Canada, and in the absence of cold high pressure to our north, this feature, along with a rapidly developing secondary low-pressure system off the mid-Atlantic coastline should be able to pull and generate enough cold air to produce a moderate to major snowstorm for southern Vermont from around noon into the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see 6-12 in. of total snowfall occur in Windham County, with greatest amounts in the high elevation areas west of Brattleboro. Highs should sit in the upper 20s to low 30s. The farther south you go, the heavier and wetter the snow should be, so some outages are possible.

As this storm tracks over southeast Massachusetts and explodes into the Gulf of Maine, the resulting pressure gradient will bring in gusty west and northwest winds Friday and Friday night. With lingering low-level moisture and a fetch off the Great Lakes, more accumulating light snow is possible, especially on west-facing slopes. Highs in the 20s Friday, with lows in the teens.

Brief high pressure builds in for the first part of Saturday, but another low will race east and allow more light snow to likely break out New Year’s Eve, with some coatings or light accumulations possible into New Year’s Day. New Year’s Eve will be cold, with lows again in the teens.

Some lingering light snow is possible New Year’s Day. More wintry weather is possible early next week as the winter of 2016-2017 nestles in.

Happy New Year, and safe travels to all!

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Originally published in The Commons issue #389 (Wednesday, December 28, 2016). This story appeared on page B4.

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