BOSTON — Massachusetts was prepping Wednesday for a winter storm that could drop up to 10 inches of snow in parts of the state.
The wintry mix of snow, sleet, rain and high winds is expected to arrive Wednesday night and continue throughout the day Thursday.
The National Weather Service has posted a winter storm watch for central and western Massachusetts, where forecasters say 8 to 10 inches of snow could fall.
In Boston and along the coast, warmer temperatures are expected to turn most of the precipitation into rain, with accumulations of an inch or two, at most.
A high wind watch has been issued for southeastern Massachusetts, including Cape Cod. Forecasters say wind gusts could reach 60 mph, possibly bringing down power lines.
In Worcester, some were preparing for inclement weather by buying rock salt, shovels and windshield wash, Barrows Hardware president Brian Barrows said.
He called the volume of customers at his Webster Street store very steady Wednesday morning.
“You do get that supermarket effect for sure,” he said of shoppers stocking supplies before a storm.
There were no flight delays or cancellations at Logan International Airport in Boston by early Wednesday afternoon.
“Right now, everything’s running normally,” airport spokesman Richard Walsh said.
But Walsh said as the day progresses, travelers should contact their airlines directly to check the status of their flights.
At Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Mass., officials were hoping nature would augment the machine-made snow that’s on trails now. And the storm’s timing during school holiday vacations also had them pumped up.
“We love snow,” ski area spokesman Tom Meyers said. “We’re ready for it and this is perfect timing to give this season a little bit of a boost because it’s been limping along.”
WBUR’s Steve Brown spoke with meteorologist Mark Rosenthal about what to expect.
Steve Brown: How’s it going, Mark?
Mark Rosenthal: Steve, it’s going great, we’re tracking a storm, a major nor’easter coming into Boston tonight.
SB: I’m hearing snow, rain, ice and wind. Will we be getting all of those here in the Boston area?
MR: Indeed I think we will, I think snow’s going to start in Boston at 8 o’clock, if not before. It could pile up an inch or two and then go to rain in the city, but the big part of the forecast problem is where the ice line is going to wind up later on tonight, probably somewhere between 128 and Route 495.
SB: How about north and west of Boston, what are you seeing out there?
MR: The 495 area looks like several inches of snow and then ice, and then once you get north and west of 495 there will probably be 4-8 inches of snow in Worcester and 5-10 inches of snow in southern New Hampshire before they go to ice early tomorrow morning.
SB: Let’s look to tomorrow’s commute. Fortunately, a lot of people are taking this week off, but some of us are still expected in the office. Is it going to be a tough go tomorrow?
MR: I think north and west of Boston it’s going to be very rough. Early tomorrow morning, between 6 and 8, it’ll be raining in the city, but by about 8 or 9 o’clock in Boston the rain might get shut off, as we may get what we call a dry slot of air coming up from the south. Once you get to 495 there should be an ice storm going on, and the further north and west of Boston you go, 50-100 miles, snow’s going to be falling at a very intense clip and it’s going to be a real nightmare.
SB: You mention ice. With wind and ice are you expecting there’s going to be a significant number of power outages?
MR: Certainly out in Worcester County, southwest through Springfield, Hartford, points north and west there could be numerous power outages, with a major ice storm and perhaps winds gusting over 45mph.
SB: Some of us look to a storm with dread, others delight…will this storm be good news for the ski resorts in northern New England?
MR: I think this is just what the doctor ordered. Before all is said and done, the high mountains of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont could see well over a foot of snow, because they’re going to be snowing into early Friday morning.