Expected snow totals, Wednesday to Thursday. (National Weather Service)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM/AP) -- A nor'easter hitting New England Wednesday into Thursday is expected to dump about a foot of snow around the Boston area.
Massachusetts Gov Charlie Baker has urged residents to prepare for the storm and have encouraged private employers to have their employees work home if at all possible Thursday.
"Take the time today to be safe and to prepare for the storm," he said at a press conference in Boston on Wednesday.
State Offices will be closed on Thursday for all non-emergency state employees.
"There will be utility crews that are staged in problems areas in the event of power outages," the Governor Baker said.
He also stressed to any drivers on the road that need to travel to not crowd snowplows clearing the snow.
According to Stephanie Pollack, the Commonwealth's Transportation Secretary, MBTA trains will operate on a normal weekday schedule, however the Commuter Rail will have reduced service and the ferry will not be operating and MBTA buses will run their snow routes.
Keolis, the commuter rail operator, says that more than 450 personnel will be working to clear snow, sand/salt and check switches on various rail lines.
Commuters should take extra time in their travel.
Blizzard warnings have been issued for the North Shore, South Shore, Boston area, Cape and Islands, and coastal New Hampshire.
The rest of the area stretching from coastal Maine to eastern Connecticut is under a winter storm watch beginning late Wednesday and continuing through the day Thursday.
Snow will overspread the region tonight/Thursday morning & last most of the day. Heavy snowfall is possible around 9am to 4 pm w/ snowfall rates near 2 inches an hour. Travel may become difficult due to poor vsbys & snow covered roads. Blowing & drifting snow is also possible. pic.twitter.com/BSF9XzJj6f— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) January 3, 2018
According to AccuWeather, the snow will begin around daybreak Thursday. NWS said the heaviest snow will come between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Eight to 12 inches are possible in Boston, with 4-8 inches expected west of 495 as well as on the Cape and Islands, where ice and rain could mix in.
There will be some leftover snow tomorrow night, blowing and drifting, as the low drops to 15 degrees.
The storm is expected to significantly effect travel, with low visibility across the state.
Though it won't be a direct hit, William Babcock at the NWS tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker the storm is still going to pack a pretty powerful punch.
"It looks like the storm is going to be passing offshore, but it is going to be coming close enough to bring quite a few inches of snow to southern New England, especially Rhode Island and eastern Massachusetts," he said.
Forecasters were also worried about wind, and NWS said damaging gusts could result in "widespread power outages."
"These winds combined with wet, heavy snow in areas, bring potential for scattered to widespread power outages, particularly in southeastern MA," MEMA officials wrote in a Wednesday statement.
[Power Outage Tips] Given the likelihood of power outages on Thursday, especially across eastern MA/RI here are some very important safety tips. Please RT to spread the word and stay safe. pic.twitter.com/z4RaCwyk8S— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) January 3, 2018
A coastal flood warning was issued for the eastern Massachusetts coast, with particular concern across Plymouth County from Sandwich to Dennis during midday Thursday high tide.
"Strong north winds will be pushing the water up against the shore, especially along places like the coast of Plymouth County and the shores of Cape Cod Bay," Babcock said.
[Thursday] Strong coastal system will result in a storm surge of 2-3 feet. This will lead to minor to moderate coastal flooding for the eastern MA coastline for the Thursday mid-day high tide. Check out our coastal flood page here: https://t.co/rCVurKHSRu pic.twitter.com/pVlUGzo8v4— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) January 3, 2018
The storm is bringing temperatures that are more normal for the season--but after the storm passes Thursday night, the area is expected to go back to a deep freeze.
Wind chills will be as low as 15-35 below zero on Friday night, with gusts from 35-50 mph.
NWS said temperatures will hover around 10 degrees on Friday and Saturday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports