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Blizzard warning issued for Martha’s Vineyard as major storm targets East Coast

People walked a dog at Houghton Pond in Milton. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff/Globe Staff

Only a few inches of snow are likely to fall in the Boston area from the snowstorm due to arrive in Massachusetts on Saturday, but the storm will hit much harder south of the city, according to the National Weather Service.

A Weather Service snowfall forecast map issued Friday showed much of the state, including the Boston area, getting up to about 3 inches, with less accumulation to the north and west.

But forecasters say the story will be different on Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island, R.I., with a blizzard warning in effect from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. Weather officials warned that as much as 8 to 12 inches of snow could fall in those areas.


In addition, the snow will be whipped by wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour, producing whiteout conditions, forecasters said.

Winter storm warnings have been issued for Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and Nantucket.

Some areas of the South Shore could see up to 8 inches of snow and winds reaching 50 miles per hour. For the Cape and Nantucket, accumulations of up to 10 inches and winds up to 55 miles per hour are expected.

“These winds are capable of downing trees and power lines as well as causing property damage,” a statement Friday from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said.

“In addition, the strong winds may result in considerable blowing snow in some areas of southeast Mass. resulting in very poor visibility,” MEMA said.

The storm is expected to arrive in Massachusetts early Saturday morning, peak during the day, and exit during the evening and overnight.

As the snow tapers off Sunday, coastal flooding is possible in areas south of Boston to the Cape and out to Nantucket because of strong high tides, forecasters said. Roads and basements near the shore might become flooded, the MEMA said.


Sunday’s late morning high tide will probably have the worst effect.

State Police will have extra patrols on duty in all Southeastern Massachusetts barracks from 3 p.m. Saturday until Sunday morning. They advised residents to take extra precaution by driving slowly and clearing their cars of snow and ice, but said they expected “a very manageable storm in Massachusetts,” according to State Police spokesman David Procopio.

Massachusetts is at the northern edge of the mammoth storm that is expected to bury the mid-Atlantic region, including Washington, Philadelphia, and New York, with some areas getting up to 3 feet of snow.

The winter storm already has affected more than 100 flights in and out of Boston, according to Massport. Flights to and from airports in Washington, Charlotte, Raleigh, and Richmond have been canceled by airlines, a statement from Massport said Friday afternoon.

Those traveling south from Massachusetts by train may also see cancellations or delays.

Amtrak announced the cancellation of several routes up and down the East Coast Friday and Saturday. Trains between Boston and New York will operate on a modified schedule.

A spokesman for the MBTA said Friday night that the agency is expecting normal service.

“Keolis and the MBTA are closely monitoring weather reports to determine the impact of the winter weather that is forecast for this weekend. Based on current forecasts we are fully expecting the commuter rail system to operate on a normal schedule over the weekend,” said spokesman Jason Johnson.


Martin Finucane of the Globe Staff and Globe correspondents Olivia Arnold and Reenat Sinay contributed to this report. J.D. Capelouto can be reached at jd.capelouto@globe.com.