Central Massachusetts Braces For Friday Blizzard

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Friday's blizzard is expected to make travel conditions extremely dangerous.
Friday's blizzard is expected to make travel conditions extremely dangerous. Photo Credit: Massachusetts State Police File Photo

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Forecasters are predicting that Friday's storm will be a blizzard that could bring more than 2 feet of snow, heavy winds, drifts and other dangerous conditions.

“I don’t think I have used this word more than four or five times in the last 25 or so years, but I think we will see blizzard conditions developing by late Friday afternoon,” Shrewsbury EMA Weather Analyst Jim Arnold said. "This storm is one of the more serious threats to approach southern New England in several years. It has the potential to be life threatening if it is not taken seriously.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Taunton issued a blizzard watch. The worst of the snowfall will be Friday, according to the weather service, which warned of dangerous travel conditions.

The National Weather Service is calling for a 100 percent chance of precipitation.

Snow will start near dawn and be light until mid-morning, when it will become heavier and the winds will increase, Arnold predicted. Heavy blowing and drifting will occur in the afternoon and may reach blizzard conditions with occasional whiteouts in the late afternoon and continue until early Saturday, Arnold said.

Accumulation may total 18 to 24 inches for most of inland southern New England. Winds on Friday may reach 20 to 30 mph, with gusts approaching 50 mph. Drifts may be 6 feet high in some areas.

The blizzard could also bring an unexpected light show, accoridng to Arnold: “There is also the chance of seeing thundersnow from imbedded thunderstorms in the heaviest bands of snow during Friday night.”

“With heavy snow and quite strong winds there is the chance of scattered tree damage and isolated power outages,” he said. “The Friday evening commute will likely be a nightmare, and travel conditions will deteriorate further overnight Friday into Saturday morning.”

Friday's storm comes on the 35th anniversary of the Blizzard of '78. “This storm could actually rival the Blizzard of ‘78, which is the benchmark winter storm for New England,” Arnold said.

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