SHREWSBURY, Mass. — For the third weekend in a row, snow is predicted for Central Massachusetts.
“We are facing the real possibility of a major snowstorm here in Central Massachusetts,” Shrewsbury Weather Analyst Jim Arnold said.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for much of the state, including Worcester County, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
A Winter Storm Watch is issued when snow is predicted to accumulate 6 or more inches in 12 hours, or 8 or more inches in 24 hours.
The weather service is urging travelers to monitor forecasts and be prepared to change their plans.
If the predictions are accurate, this will be the third storm in as many weekends to hit Central Massachusetts. The area got hit with blizzard conditions Feb. 8 and 9 and was inundated with snow last weekend.
Arnold said we can expect to see the snow begin to fall Saturday afternoon, with heavy snow arriving just before midnight. The accumulation could be as high as 1 inch per hour after midnight, winding down early to mid-afternoon Sunday.
“In the Shrewsbury/Worcester area, the first part of the storm will likely be heavy, sticky, wet snow which will cling to everything,” he said. “The storm will draw more cold air into it very early Sunday morning, and the snow will transition to a lighter, fluffy snow which will be easier to move, and it also will blow around a bit.
Temperatures Saturday will be in the mid-30s, falling to the lower 30s in the evening and upper 20s by dawn Sunday.
According to Arnold, the amount of snow forecast depends on which prediction methods are used.
“Model guidance is still all over the place, as the European sees 4 to 6 inches for our area and the GFS sees over a foot of snow for us,” he said. “Their storm tracks are quite different, as is their representation of storm intensity. In addition, timing and storm duration are very different. As such, there is still work to be done on this forecast. And this is certainly not the last in this series of winter storms to impact southern New England.”
The weather service is predicting a 60 percent chance of precipitation Saturday and a 100 percent chance Saturday night. A 90 percent chance of precipitation is forecast for Sunday, along with 22 mph wind gusts.
“My current thinking is that the areas north of the Mass Pike and west of Route 495 will likely see 8 to 14 inches by the storm's end,” Arnold said. “There will be enough wet, sticky snow clinging to trees and power lines to cause some tree damage and power outages.”