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40-50 inches of snow, ‘big nor’easters’ could intensify over warmer than normal waters

After above-normal snowfall last winter, including a monster blizzard in late January, what does Old Man Winter have in store for Boston this year?

AccuWeather is out with its winter forecast, predicting that Boston will record 40 to 50 inches of snow, which would be near the city’s average snowfall of 49.2 inches. Boston is expected to face 16 to 20 days of accumulating snow.

The 40 to 50 inches of snow would come in less than last winter’s 54 inches, which was boosted by the Jan. 29 nor’easter that dumped two feet of snow.

“It could end up slightly above normal in Boston, and below normal the farther west you go,” AccuWeather’s Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok told the Herald on Wednesday.

“What concerns us is the water just offshore is about 3 degrees above normal,” he added. “When that happens, a system can flare up to a bigger system, so we’re keeping a close eye on those water temperatures.”

It appears that December will have fewer opportunities for big snow storms, but then January and February will be more active, according to Pastelok.

“When you have that warm water east of Boston and the Cape, systems can intensify and you can get big nor’easters,” he added.

“It can be similar with a hurricane tracking over warmer water and intensifying, so we could see that development take place,” Pastelok said.

Meteorologists are anticipating some early cold spells in the season, with cold air swooping in from Canada.

“There could be a touch of winter-like conditions as soon as next week,” Pastelok said. “A cold front could bring some flurries to the Berkshires.”

Ahead of any winter weather, the National Weather Service is warning that a strong cold front will be moving into the region late Thursday into Friday — bringing 1 to 2 inches of rain with localized higher amounts and gusty winds.

Flooding is possible, and residents are being told to clean storm drains of any leaf debris to prevent standing water.

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 13: A couple use an umbrella as shelter from the snow during the Lunar New Year celebration of the Year of the Tiger in Chinatown February 13, 2022 in BOSTON, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
A couple deploys an umbrella against the snow during this year’s Lunar New Year celebration. (Chris Christo/Boston Herald)

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