A large swath of Massachusetts could get slammed with up to a half-foot or more of snow in the nor’easter that’s blowing into the region Thursday night, while Boston and the eastern coast could get a measly 2 inches, according to forecasters.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the central, northern, and western parts of the state — from Framingham to Northampton — between 4 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday as up to 7 inches of snow is expected. (The warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet, and ice will make travel dangerous.)
“Heavy snow changing to ice and then eventually all rain in some locations,” forecasters wrote. “Total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch expected.”
By 11 p.m. Thursday, updated snow totals showed much of the state was covered in at least two inches of snow with pockets of high accumulation in central and western portions of the state.
Forecasters also warned that travel could become tough, with 1 to 2 inches of snow falling per hour and visibility reduced to a half-mile or less.
“We are encouraging everyone to minimize driving during the storm this evening and into tomorrow morning,” said highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver, according to a statement from MassDOT. “This storm may have brief periods of heavy snowfall which will mean poor visibility for drivers. Commuters should also have a plan for travel tomorrow morning, as there may be flash freezing overnight as temperatures drop.”
After snow began falling in the early evening Thursday, the weather service issued an update with a map showing the storm’s progress up to that point.
A winter weather advisory was also issued for the Boston area and the Massachusetts coast between 4 p.m. Thursday and 1 a.m. Friday. Flood warnings were also issued for pockets of the Metrowest and South Shore areas.
“Total snow accumulations 2 to 6 inches . . . except a coating to 2 inches on the very immediate coast. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph,” forecasters wrote. “Expect snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.”
The storm is expected to arrive around 6 p.m. in the western part of the state, 7 to 8 p.m. in the central part, and around 8 p.m. in Boston.
Lots of reports of snow covered roads, traffic accidents, stuck cars, low visibility over CT. As snow continues to spread eastward, simply put we encourage folks to stay home, stay safe, don?t travel unless you absolutely have to. pic.twitter.com/knd6iewvop— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) November 15, 2018
The snow is expected to transition to sleet and then freezing rain through the evening into the overnight, forecasters wrote on Twitter.
And although the Cape and Islands are mostly escaping unscathed by snow, those areas could see wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour or more, forecasters wrote.
For those who are really looking forward to a nice November nor’easter shellacking for some reason, take note: There is a chance — though it’s pretty small — that parts of the state could see 8, 9, or even 10 inches of snow.
Of course, there’s also a chance — again, a slight one — that most of the region will see very little snow at all.
However, it’s almost guaranteed that most of the region will see at least a dusting, and chances are high that Northern Massachusetts will see 4 inches or more.
Forecasters said there’s still some uncertainty on the exact timing of when snow could change to sleet and freezing rain, noting that being off even by one to three hours “can make a huge difference in snowfall amounts.”
“For example, if the transition occurs faster, then an area [forecast to receive] 6-8 inches may end up with 3-4 inches,” forecasters wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, NWS Albany also warned Thursday afternoon that parts of Western Massachusetts could see up to 6 inches of snow.
Snowfall projection maps weren’t immediately available for New Hampshire and Maine from NWS Gray, but the service did issue winter storm warnings for most of the two states, noting that up to 8 inches of snow is possible in many areas.
NWS Gray also forecast when the snow was slated to arrive in New Hampshire and Maine.
The Boston-area weather service also posted a radar map to Twitter late Thursday afternoon that showed the storm approaching New England.
[330 PM Radar Update] Regional radar shows the approaching snow entering southwest Connecticut! Locations in New York and New Jersey have already picked up 1-2" of snow in the last few hours pic.twitter.com/HkacXg3Axa— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) November 15, 2018
On Friday, temperatures are expected to warm up to the mid-40s and change the precipitation to rain, forecasters wrote, with dry conditions and cooler temperatures moving in Friday night through most of the weekend.