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Boston weather: Winter storm heightens, Blizzard Warning issued for some

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Covering metro Boston, North Shore and western suburbs: It has been snowing at a good clip all day throughout northeast Massachusetts with the Merrimack Valley and Cape Ann areas already receiving up to 12 inches of snow with lesser amounts elsewhere throughout the forecast areas. Gusty winds have begun to whip the snow around causing low visibility along with drifting snow which is causing additional problems on the roadways.

The National Weather Service has now issued a Blizzard Warning for part of our forecast area. Specifically, eastern Essex County where the warning is in effect until 11 am Friday. It is going to continue to snow and snow hard at times with accumulations of an inch or two per hour possible at times. Winds are expected to gust upwards of 45 mph along the coast making for very difficult driving conditions all night and into early Friday. Accumulations across the Merrimack Valley and along the coast may exceed 20 inches in spots, with generally 15 to 20 inches expected throughout Essex County.

Through the western suburbs and Middlesex county it will not be as windy and with less snow totals through today the overall snow totals will be less, although a formidable 10 to 14 inches is likely by storms end. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for this area until 10 am Friday.

Temperatures began to take nosedive this afternoon and have fallen into the single digits most everywhere north and west of the city. This is unusually cold for a nor’easter snowstorm and perhaps the one positive issue is that the snow is fluffy and not sticking to power lines and trees.

Coastal flooding continues to be a major concern. Although areas along the south shore are where the biggest concerns lie there are still areas north of Boston that may experience some minor to moderate coastal flooding at time of high tide tonight, around midnight, and again during the midday high tide cycle on Friday. The next two high tide cycles are most likely going to create more widespread coastal flooding from what was experienced during today’s midday cycle. There is a Coastal Flood Warning in effect for all of the eastern Massachusetts coastline.

As a result of the very cold temperatures and now increasingly gusty winds the weather service has also issued a Wind Chill Advisory for most of the forecast area, absent eastern Essex County. Wind chills will get close to 20 below zero at times overnight and into Friday morning. With wind chills at 20 below you can develop frostbite in about 30 minutes.

Most school districts have already cancelled classes for Friday extending the holiday school vacations until Monday. The city of Boston has already cancelled classes for tomorrow. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has announced that he is urging businesses to stay closed Friday and all government offices will be closed for the day.

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