Massachusetts is bracing for a winter storm that could drop up to 10 inches of snow in some parts of the state.
The wintry mix of snow, sleet and rain as well as 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. Up to 10 inches of snow are forecast for Greenfield, Pittsfield and other areas, while Fitchburg and Springfield could get eight inches.
In Boston and along the coast, however, warmer temperatures are expected to turn the precipitation over to mostly rain, with accumulations of an inch or two, if anything.
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 leading to power outages.
In Worcester, some people were prepping 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 the transportation official said as the day progresses, travelers should contact their airlines directly to check on any potential flight status changes.
WBUR’s Bob Oakes spoke with meteorologist Mark Rosenthal about what to expect.
Bob Oakes: Tell us about when this storm is supposed to begin.
Mark Rosenthal: We think it still will break out in Boston probably after 8 oclock tonight and I think there could be a few inches of snow, even in Boston, certainly just to the NW of the coastal plain just before it turns over to rain.
Is this the same storm that caused so many problems in the South?
Yes it is, in fact, this storm is going to move north and redevelop to form a fairly potent nor’easter as it moves just south of New England by late tomorrow.
What about to the West?
Well, certainly once you got out to 495 and beyond, it could be 6 inches or more still but there big problem there is that when precipitation changes, it could change over to sleet or freezing rain and there could be quite the ice storm from 495 North and West.
How long is the storm supposed to last?
At least until early tomorrow evening.
And then it clears out and moves off?
I don’t know if it clears out but precipitation may actually change back to sleet or snow for a brief time even in Boston perhaps late tomorrow as the storm center moves south of New England, the winds turn more to the north-northeast and colder air drains down. And, of course, there’s talk about a second storm for Saturday night and Sunday. Right now, it looks like a bulk of that is going to be going out to sea to our East.
This storm coming in tonight will be the first major winter storm of the year.
Exactly, we haven’t had snow here since November so we’re way overdue. The mountains, by the way – Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont – could see over a foot of snow.
As I understand it, as much as 20 inches of snow as close as Concord, NH.
It’s possible. Some of the ski hills may see well over a foot of snow.
How close might the ice storm get to Boston? In terms of driving around the city of Greater Boston, how tough is it going to be?
Boston itself may get an inch or two of snow, and then the city may go to all rain but it’s going to be a tough call. In the 128 belt of 495, whether it turns to plain rain or freezing rain and sleet, that’s something we need to follow.
And right along the coast, high winds?
Yes right along the coast, Boston’s wind later on tonight is going to pick up from the Northeast, perhaps gusts up to 60MPH. There may even be some scattered power outages.
And it ends on Thursday night?
Right, the storm should be winding down probably after 7 o’clock Thursday night. There might be a change back to snow along the coast as the cold air rushes back in. It’s going to be something we have to follow hour by hour.