Wednesday’s storm is expected to drop several inches of snow across the state, making roads slippery and reducing visibility for drivers, forecasters said.
Snow began falling in the Boston area about 4 a.m. Wednesday and was expected to continue into the afternoon, gradually lessening to light snow or flurries, according to the National Weather Service.
In the western part of the state near the Berkshires, 5 inches of snow had already fallen before 6 a.m., according to the weather service. By 10 a.m., parts of Western Mass were reporting accumulations of 6 to 7 inches, and some towns in Central and Northern Mass, such as Dracut and Athol, were reporting 3½ inches.
But less than an inch was reported in the Boston area, where the day’s high was expected to be 35 degrees.
“So far we haven’t seen a lot of reports in the city itself because there’s so much pavement,” Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the weather service, said a little before 11 a.m. “We’re right around freezing, so the pre-treating of the roads is working, but if you get away from the pavement . . . you’ll see 2 to 4 inches” by the end of the storm.
By late morning, the accumulation in Western Massachusetts was near its end, Dunham said.
“They may have one more burst of snow, but for the most part its coming to an end out west,” he said.
Dunham said Wednesday’s storm was “just a typical Southern New England winter storm that gives you some snow. No real wind with it, nothing remarkable, nothing out of the ordinary.”
No flooding or other storm damage was expected. Still, he cautioned that roads will be slick, especially secondary roads that see less traffic and less treatment.
“Once they’re slick, you want to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Don’t tailgate,” he said.
Winter storm warnings are in effect for much of northern, Central, and Western Massachusetts through 6 p.m. Wednesday. In those areas, which includes cities such as Fitchburg, Framingham, and Lowell, snow accumulation could reach 6 to 8 inches and could cause “hazardous travel.”
A winter weather advisory is in effect for the same time frame in portions of Eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, northern Connecticut, and northern Rhode Island.
The state Department of Transportation deployed 1,856 pieces of equipment to treat and clear roads across the Commonwealth, and in Boston 455 Department of Public Works employees were treating city streets, officials said on Twitter
State Police reduced the speed limit on the Massachusetts Turnpike to 40 miles per hour from the New York border to Exit 6 in Chicopee, according to a tweet from the agency. State Police also tweeted a photo of a car that spun off the Mass Pike in the southbound lanes in Worcester but caused no injuries. “Roads are slick. Take your time,” State Police cautioned.
On Route 9, all three westbound lanes were briefly closed in Shrewsbury after a truck crashed there, MassDOT spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard said on Twitter.
The heavy snow is expected to stop around noon or 1 p.m., said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, another weather service meteorologist, with a few hours of dwindling light flurries.
“If there is any leftover snow [during the evening commute], it will be on the light side,” she said.Felicia Gans can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.