SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Forecasters are expecting the current storm slamming Central Massachusetts to intensify before tapering off on Saturday.
"We have a dangerous and crippling storm on our doorstep, and all precautions should be taken to safely get through this potentially historic event," said Shrewsbury Weather Analyst Jim Arnold.
The National Weather Service has posted a blizzard warning until 1 p.m. for our area and for many coastal sections between Newark, N.J. to the Maine/Canada border.
Conditions at Worcester Regional Airport at about 2 p.m. Friday included snow and freezing fog with temperatures at 22 degrees. Heavy snow is expected to continue into Saturday, with a 100 percent chance of precipitation.
Arnold said snowfall will occur at 2 to 3 inches per hour. However, should a winter thunderstorm occur, the so-called "thundersnow" could drive accumulation to nearly 6 inches per hour. Forecasters have predicted total snowfall in Massachusetts at between 18 inches and three feet.
Northeast winds Friday night will blow at 20 to 25 mph, and may gust up to 60 mph, Arnold said.
"Drifting will become a problem as the light and fluffy snow will be easy to blow around," he said. "As a result, there is the possibility of some drifts reaching 6 to 10 feet in depth in exposed areas."
Temperatures on Friday will be in the 20s for most of the day, falling to around 20 degrees by early evening, and to around 12 by Saturday morning.
"Wind chills will be extreme, and there is the real danger of hypothermia for anyone out in those conditions for an extended period of time," he said. "There will be some tree damage in central Massachusetts which will contribute to some power outages, but the worst of the power problems will be along the coast."
The NWS has posted coastal flood warnings for much of the northeast.
The heaviest snow should be over by late Saturday morning. West and northwest winds will continue to blow up to 20 to 30 mph, with 50 mph gusts with continued drifting.
"Take this storm very seriously," Arnold said. "Half of our population has never experienced a storm like this promises to be. Please be careful."