The last big storm of the winter is coming -- here are the towns that could get creamed

It’s not looking like the first day of spring in Boston.

A big storm is headed for New England on Sunday evening, with 5-8 inches of snow expected to slam Boston late that evening and into Monday morning.

Here’s an image of the official snow forecast (in inches) for the Northeast between Sunday and Monday. As you can see, some areas south of Boston, including Providence, Rhode Island, and Plympton, Mass. are expected to get between 9 and 12 inches of powder, according to the National Weather Service. Boston itself is expected to see about 7 inches of snow:

Forecasters expect most of the snow to fall between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Sunday night, but they say it will likely keep falling through Monday morning.

“A mixture of rain and snow is expected to change to all snow this evening and continue into Monday morning over portions of the Northeast and southern New England,” according to a weather alert posted by the National Weather Service on Sunday morning. “Heavy snow is expected from eastern Long Island to Boston including Cape Cod and Rhode Island.”

The forecasts are based largely around three different weather prediction models, which meteorologists use to get a better idea of what’s coming:

  • The North American Mesoscale model (NAM): This model, which successfully predicted the late January blizzard, is run four times a day, provides forecasts as far out as 3.5 days, and allegedly provides finer detail than other operational models.
  • The Global Forecast System model (GFS): Run four times a day in two parts, forecasts weather up to 16 days in advance, but with decreasing accuracy over time.
  • The Rapid Precision Mesoscale model (RPM): Produces forecasts as far out as 24 hours with updates every 3 hours in the US and every 6 hours outside the US.

For this storm, the models differ slightly in their predictions, but most tell the Northeast to expect anything from heavy rain to some snow.

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