The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Monday afternoon, a downgrade from a winter storm watch which had initially been posted.
The storm is expected to pass closer to New England, allowing for the snow that will begin falling early Tuesday to change to rain later in the day. Snowfall totals from Cape Cod were revised down to 2 to 4 inches. Slightly higher amounts are expected on Martha’s Vineyard.
A coastal storm watch and high wind watch remain in effect for the region as two low pressure systems are expected to converge off the mid-Atlantic Tuesday and develop into a Nor’easter.
Winter storm warnings are in effect for Boston area and blizzard warnings for the greater Worcester area.
“The track is going to be really important. Right now it does look like it’s going to be passing somewhere over the Cape Cod or near the canal,” said National Meteorologist Alan Dunham.
The snow is expected to start Tuesday morning on Cape Cod and could be heavy at times, occasionally mixing with rain. Winds will blow out of the east at 20 to 35 miles an hour, with gusts to 55 miles an hour into Tuesday night. Utility companies said they were planning for the possibilities of power outages during the storm.
The strongest winds will be from Tuesday morning into Tuesday afternoon.
“Looking at northeast winds for Tuesday at 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 and then those gusts could increase to 60 mph,” said Dunham.
There is also concern for coastal flooding. Eastern facing beaches face the biggest risk during the early Tuesday afternoon tide. Widespread minor flooding is possible with pockets of moderate coastal flooding. Some overwash is possible along the ocean-exposed shoreline.
Eversource, which provides electricity to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard said they were ready to address any storm-related power outages. The company is preparing for the possibility of tree-related damage to its electric system and will have crews and support staff ready to respond.
Customers are encouraged to also prepare for the possibility of outages.
“We design and build our system to stand up to the effects of storms like this and our staff will be ready to address any damage the snow and winds might cause,” said Mike Hayhurst, Vice President of Electric System Operations at Eversource.
“We’re confident our ongoing system improvements and tree maintenance program, combined with our strategic emergency response plan, will enable us to safely and efficiently handle any issues that may arise.”
Eversource customers should report power outages online at www.eversource.comor by calling Eversource at1-800-592-2000. National Grid, which provides power to Nantucket, was also in storm preparation mode on Monday.
At the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in Framingham, officials were preparing for the Nor’easter by consulting with various state agencies and municipalities around the Commonwealth.
“There are a lot of different impacts we’re watching, particularly the heavy snow, some of the strong winds and the possible coastal flooding as well,” said spokesman Christopher Besse.
Gov. Charlie Baker urged caution ahead of the storm.
“This isn’t going to be a typical storm where it starts falling slowly and then eventually picks up speed,” Baker said. “The message we’ve been getting from the National Weather Service and others is the storm is going to start and when it starts it is going to snow hard and it’s going to snow quickly and it’s going to create very treacherous circumstances and conditions in many parts of Massachusetts.”
Baker said travel will be significantly impacted by snow covered roads and rapidly falling snow and heavy winds.
“We are urging the public to please stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and to take public transportation whenever possible.”
Baker said the conditions along the coast, particularly Cape Cod, the Islands and Southern Plymouth County could result in power outages.
“That combination of high winds, wet snow, rain and cold weather could lead to some significant amount of downed trees and tree limbs in Plymouth and Barnstable Counties and we’ll be closely monitoring power outages,” Baker said. “We’ll be closely monitoring power outages and are working with the utilities to ensure that they can respond as quickly as possible should we see those outages tomorrow as the wind begins to pick up.”
Plymouth Public Schools, Cape Cod Community College and Massachusetts Maritime Academy announced Monday afternoon that schools will be closed Tuesday.
The precipitation will end as all snow on Cape Cod Tuesday night.