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The Boston Globe

Metro

Up to 8 inches of snow expected in Boston

The evening commute may be even more painful than usual, with slick roads and poor visibility from a storm that is expected to bring as much as 8 inches of snow to the Boston area and more than a foot to some parts of the state, according to the National Weather Service.

Though it’s the end of February, and this unusually warm winter should soon be coming to a close, weather advisories are in place in almost every area of the state, said weather service meteorologist Kim Buttrick.

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The weather service issued a winter storm warning for the immediate Boston area and the North Shore, saying that 4 to 8 inches of snow could fall, along with a light coating of ice.

A snowfall total forecast map showed the depth of expected snow increasing from southeast portions of the state such as Cape Cod, which was expected to get an inch or less, to north and northwest portions, where the north central part of the state was expected to be blanketed with up to 14 inches.

Snow began to fall around midday in the Boston area. A period of heavy snow was expected to coincide with the evening commute, said Buttrick.

Highs today reached the upper 30s in the early morning hours but dropped to freezing this afternoon.

Precipitation will continue overnight tonight, with the type determined by where residents live.

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“The southern zone will be rain, south of the Mass Pike will be a wintry mix, and north of the Mass Pike will be all snow,” Buttrick said.

On Thursday the storm is expected persist north of the Massachusetts Turnpike with rain to the south. The temperatures will be about the same as today.

Finally, precipitation will taper off Thursday night, she said, as temperatures drop into the upper teens to upper 20s.

Friday will be partly sunny, with highs in the mid-30s to mid-40s.

This weekend will be warm again. Saturday will bring a chance of rain and high temperatures in the 50s. On Sunday, skies will be most clear, with highs in the 40s.

Exactly how much snow accumulates is going to be a tough call, boston.com weather blogger David Epstein writes today. He said he expected the snow to be heaviest up through midnight. After that, it will remain cloudy with very light snow or drizzle.

The snowfall on the last day of the month -- a leap day this year -- could throw a wrench in some predictions that this February would be a recordbreaker.

Boston has so far recorded only trace amounts of snow this month, according to the National Weather Service. That tied it with 1937 and 1925 for the least snow in February.

But if Boston picks up even 0.1 inches today, she said, “it’s not going to be a record snowless month.”

If today had been dry, Boston would have been ranked third, behind the years 1877 and 1901 for one of the driest Februarys. So far this month, the city had only a few days of measurable precipitation, totaling 0.71 inches.

As of midnight Tuesday, the average monthly temperature was 37.5 degrees, which would make this February the third warmest in Boston since records began being kept in 1872, said Buttrick. The record is 38.0 degrees, set in 1925.

This year may also break a record for the warmest Boston winter, from December through February, with an average of 37.23 degrees, only 0.67 degrees less than the record set in the winter of 2001 and 2002.

“Depending on what Boston gets by midnight tonight the statistics are going to change,” she said.

Alli Knothe can be reached at aknothe@globe.com.

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