(National Weather Service)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- A storm arriving Wednesday is expected to bring snow and freezing rain and impact the evening commute.
Snow is expected to fall across northern and western Massachusetts, changing at some point to rain in northern Connecticut and Rhode Island as well as eastern Massachusetts.
A Winter Storm Watch will be in effect from 7 a.m. Wednesday to 1 a.m. Thursday for areas north and west of Boston.
WBZ-TV Executive Weather Producer Terry Eliasen said the snow would hit the Boston area between 9-11 a.m.
"The snow's going to come in, it's going to come in quick," Eliasen said. "Snow will come down pretty hard right off the bat, so I would say by mid-day, early afternoon, most of the roads are snow-covered and snow's accumulating very quickly."
Heavy snowfall rates are expected tomorrow at the onset of the storm, impacting most of southern New England. Snow will transition to sleet and/or freezing rain across interior northeast and central MA, northwest RI, and northern CT. A tenth to a quarter inch of ice is possible. pic.twitter.com/OyLYE4D3Hl— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) February 6, 2018
Eliasen forecasts 2-4 inches in and around Boston before the snow turns to rain, but said 4-8 inches of snow, sleet, and freezing rain were expected north and west of 495.
He added that totals could drop depending on the position of the rain-snow line.
In a release Tuesday afternoon, MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver warned the public to monitor road conditions during the storm.
"While the initial early morning commute may be free of impacts, we expect that heavy snow and mixed precipitation including sleet and freezing rain will fall throughout the day, possibly creating challenging conditions for the afternoon commute," he said. "Drivers should reduce speeds, give themselves extra time to reach their destinations, and provide plenty of space to snow and ice equipment on the roadways.”
Gulliver said they have about 4,200 pieces of snowfighting equipment, and have already begun treating roadways in advance of the storm.
Because temperatures will drop again Wednesday night, roads could become slippery.
"Everybody drops below freezing tomorrow night again," Eliasen said. "They're going to drop back below 32 degrees late tomorrow night, and everything will freeze up. Messy day tomorrow, messy p.m. commute for sure."
Forecasters were not yet clear on where the rain/snow line would be.
"The big question with this storm is the rain-snow line," Eliasen said. "The snow is going to change over to rain from south to north during tomorrow afternoon, so by the evening commute, Boston is all rain--but how far north that rain-snow line gets is still in question."
The high Wednesday will be around 32-36, before turning brisk at night with a low of 20-26.
Thursday, meanwhile, will be breezy and cold with a high of 32. There could be more snow coming Friday night.