fb-pixel

The region is bracing for March’s fourth nor’easter — already dubbed the “four’easter” — as meteorologists forecast up to 6 to 8 inches of snow in the Boston area Wednesday and issued a winter storm warning for much of eastern and southern New England.

Western Massachusetts could see 1 to 4 inches, with 3 to 4 inches falling in the Springfield area, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.

Coastal New Hampshire and Maine could receive as much as 4 to 5 inches, according to the weather service.

The expected winds of 25 to 30 miles per hour will be less intense than those experienced during last week’s nor’easter but still could cause damage, the service said.

Advertisement



Winds will be “gusty enough that those trees that are already damaged and vulnerable could come down,” Matt Doody, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency cautioned in a bulletin Tuesday that heavy snow and high winds could cause electrical outages in Eastern Massachusetts.

There also is a risk of coastal flooding from Cohasset and Scituate southward to Cape Cod and the Islands, according to Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, another meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Snowfall is expected to be heaviest in the Boston area Wednesday night, tapering off Thursday morning and ending around noon, but perhaps leaving flurries that linger into the day, Vallier-Talbot said.

Boston public schools will be open Wednesday, but after-school activities were canceled, officials said.

As the storm approached, some school districts across the region were struggling to make up days missed because of weather, and at least a few were considering giving up vacation days or Saturdays to close the gap.

In Andover, where schools had reached their sixth snow day by mid-January and logged their 10th last week, the School Department has added makeup days on two Saturdays — April 28 and May 12 — and on Good Friday and the last Friday in June, according to an e-mail Superintendent Sheldon Berman sent parents last week.

Advertisement



The district also plans to extend the class schedule on May 4, which originally had been scheduled as an early-release day, he said.

With another nor’easter coming, the district may well need to add at least one more day. In that case, “the School Committee will meet to discuss the options,” Berman said in the e-mail.

“I’m sorry we need to take such drastic measures to make up days,” he added, “but I hope you will help us make these days as valuable for student learning as possible.”

In Chelmsford, schools Superintendent Jay Lang sent teachers and parents an e-mail outlining some unpalatable options: Students might have to attend school on Saturdays, give up part of April vacation week, or both.

Either way, he said in the e-mail, he planned to recommend to the School Committee that the district schedule a full day of school on Good Friday.

“These are kind of worst-case-scenario options,” Lang said in a phone interview on Tuesday, “but I felt that we had to have a plan, in case we have other weather-related days out between now and the end of school.”

When Chelmsford lost March 14 to the region’s last nor’easter — the third to hit Massachusetts in two weeks — the district went past the limit of days it could schedule before the school year concludes at the end of June, Lang explained in the e-mail.

Advertisement



Under state law, public schools are required to schedule at least 185 days and to hold classes for at least 180 days, with the extra five days included as a buffer for time lost to weather emergencies.

Those requirements are also presenting a challenge in Billerica, where the schools had an eighth snow day last week.

Billerica Public Schools posted an online survey to ask families whether they would prefer to make up three snow days during April vacation week or the last week in June, and whether they have made plans that would prevent students from attending school during the vacation or in June’s final week.

Other districts across the state still have some wiggle room.

Boston Public Schools has lost five days to snow, which pushed the final class day from June 20 to June 27.

In Wellesley, schools have had five snow days this winter, and the district should be able to stick with its plan to end the academic year on June 20 without giving up any Saturdays or vacation time, according to Addie Doherty, assistant to Superintendent David Lussier.

“Barring some horrible weeklong snowstorm, we should be all set,” Doherty said.

Lawrence Public Schools has missed nine days, pushing its last day from June 15 to June 21, according to Chris Markuns, a spokesman for the School Department.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.

Advertisement