Jan. 11, 2011
BOSTON — Get out those snow shovels. A blizzard could dump up to 18 inches of snow on some parts of the state Wednesday, snarling both morning and evening commutes.
A number of flights are already canceled at Logan Airport, while dozens of schools have announced they'll be closed Wednesday because of the snow.
Gov. Deval Patrick is meeting with the state's transportation and emergency management agencies via teleconference Wednesday evening to discuss storm response.
The storm is expected to drop heavy, fast-falling snow from the Berkshires to Boston to the coast. "What we're looking at now is an apparently large area in the state has the potential for 12 or more inches of snow," said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton.
8 to 12 inches of snow are predicted for the Boston area. Less snow is expected on the Cape, with 5-9 inches predicted on the upper Cape, and 3-5 inches predicted on the outer Cape and islands.
Dunham said Central Massachusetts is expected to get the heaviest snow. "I would not be surprised if it's upward of 16 to 18 inches," Dunham said.
At its heaviest, the light, fluffy snow could accumulate at a rate of three inches per hour. That will make it extra hard to clear the roads.
Luisa Paiewonsky, highway administrator for MassDOT, expects snow to keep piling up through the day. "Snow blowing back on the roads does tend to happen with gusting winds," she said. "We can expect to see very difficult driving conditions tomorrow."
Paiewonsky said MassDOT is pre-treating roads before the snow arrives and is prepared to send 4,000 snowplows and spreaders to clear the roads. Still, she recommends people play close attention to traffic reports before venturing out.