Forecasters are warning of a developing winter storm that may hit Massachusetts early next week with significant snowfall, strong winds and coastal flooding.
The potentially major storm may affect southern New England late Monday into Tuesday, though the forecast is subject to change more than 72 hours out. There are still many lingering questions about the weather event this far ahead of time, including what kind of precipitation Massachusetts may see.
Precipitation types Monday through Tuesday are expected to be predominantly snow, but warming along the coast may allow for a mixture of or transition to rain, according to the National Weather Service.
“It’s too early to tell,” Alan Dunham, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Boston/Norton office, told MassLive. “You could have mainly snow, but the Cape could have a wintry mix or snow changing to all rain. It depends on how close the storm gets to southern New England.”
If the storm materializes, there could significant snow accumulations as well as a period of strong winds and coastal flooding along the eastern coast of the state. Greater Boston, Cape Cod and the MetroWest area could be impacted, according to the weather service.
Precipitation may start as early as Monday afternoon or night and continue through Tuesday across eastern Connecticut through Rhode Island and coastal Massachusetts, the agency said.
“It’s too early to nail down the exact timing on it. We’re talking about Monday into Tuesday,” Dunham noted.
Forecasters said drier weather should return Wednesday and Thursday.
The prediction of the heavy winter storm comes as a polar vortex moves through Massachusetts on Friday, blasting the state with and Arctic airmass and bringing subzero wind chills to the state.
Blizzard-like conditions were expected to hit the Cape and Islands in the afternoon and evening as well, with 2 to 4 inches forecast to fall in the area, according to officials.