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December 13. 2013 10:43PM

Nor'easter is expected to blanket the region


A cross country skier makes tracks at Derryfield Country Club in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

A nor'easter could dump more than a foot of snow on parts of southern New Hampshire tonight and Sunday as the storm intensifies and barrels up the New England coast.

The first major storm of the season is expected to bring 8 to 12 inches of snow to central and southern areas, but localized spots could see up to 14 inches in Rockingham and Strafford counties, said Tom Hawley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

"It will be a nor'easter, but it's not a blockbuster. It's a moderate event and people are going to have to take care on the roads," he said.

Winter storm warnings were posted for all of the state for tonight and Sunday, with the snow expected to arrive early this evening and pick up in intensity during the overnight hours.

Hawley said the heaviest will likely fall between about 10 p.m. today and 8 a.m. Sunday.

The snow should end by early Sunday afternoon, he said.

Winds are also expected to pick up in southeastern New Hampshire.

"We will see stronger winds than previously thought, especially in Rockingham and Strafford counties," Hawley said.

Northeast winds could gust up to 30 mph beginning around 6 a.m. Sunday and lasting through about noon.

"There will be plenty of blowing and drifting of the snow with reduced visibilities," Hawley said.

The good news is that the snow will be light and fluffy. Hawley said it won't be the kind of snow that sticks to trees and causes power outages in a coastal storm.

New Hampshire will also remain on the chilly side over the weekend and into the first part of next week. Hawley said highs today will be in the upper teens and drop to the low to mid-teens during the night. Highs on Sunday will climb into the mid-20s.

Temperatures have been running about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year, but Hawley said temperatures may begin to warm up a bit by later next week.

Will the snow from this weekend's storm stick around to give New Hampshire a white Christmas? That's the question many people are asking, but Hawley made no guarantees.

While New Hampshire has experienced a cold snap in recent days, forecasters eyeing a chance for some rain by next weekend.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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