With mixed precipitation in the forecast later on Wednesday and much of Thursday, forecasters believe conditions could severely impact travel and leave people without power.
The National Weather Service announced a winter weather advisory will be issued beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday until 1 p.m. Thursday. Forecasters see a wintry mix that includes snow accumulation of up to 2 inches, along with ice accumulation of about one-quarter of an inch, according to the advisory.
The advisory covers northern parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island, all of Western Massachusetts and Worcester County, and north Eastern Massachusetts. Areas like the northern Worcester Hills and east slope of the Berkshires could see 1 to 2 inches of a sleet/snow mix, while sleet and freezing rain north and west of Interstate 95 is possible.
The potential for these conditions could greatly affect Wednesday’s evening and Thursday’s morning commutes, the weather service said. Wet and/or untreated roadways, driveways and sidewalks could be icy as a cold front moves through New England.
“Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice,” the advisory read. “Travel could be nearly impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.”
To stay safe, the weather service said commuters should slow down and use caution while traveling. Forecasters added elsewhere that commuters on Thursday morning “should plan ahead accordingly as travel will likely be slow and slick.”
While there’s a chance the advisory could be extended, concern over the conditions during the afternoon commute persists, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Leatham.
“Roadways could still be slick during the Thursday evening commute,” he said. “There could continue to be mixed precipitation during that time, along with standing water that could refreeze as temperatures drop. Right now, it’s still looking like a messy commute.”
A weather service model depicting Thursday’s timeline for when the mixed precipitation passes through New England suggests it’s possible the wintry mix could linger until 4 p.m. in north Eastern Massachusetts and small parts of Central and Western Massachusetts. Chances of rain in the communities south of Boston at that same time are possible.
By this time, Leatham emphasized that south Eastern Massachusetts, the Greater Boston area and the Cape “will be spared” from advisory conditions. Mixed precipitation going into Thursday night remains possible, specifically across northern Connecticut and Rhode Island, possibly into Boston.
Conditions could clear up Friday, as the day’s highs will likely hit after midnight or early in the morning, forecasters said. But an arctic front could blast through the region later in the morning.