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Springfield weather: Powerful nor'easter Thursday, heavy snow expected

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High clouds began to filter in overhead this afternoon bringing the first signs of the storm well to our south this evening. By this time I’m sure many of you have already heard about the paralyzing ice and snow across portions of the south and mid-Atlantic through today and into tonight. It is that storm system that will impact our area through Thursday into early Friday.

Low pressure will reorganize and intensify off the mid-Atlantic coast during Thursday as it churns northeastward toward southern New England. The center is expected to be near the Chesapeake Bay Thursday midday then taking a track near the Cape Cod Canal later Thursday night and into the Gulf of Maine Friday morning. While this track makes for a very complicated weather forecast to our east, here across the Pioneer Valley a heavy snowstorm is a pretty sure bet. Some mixing with rain and sleet may occur for a time across the southern valley, mainly south of the turnpike, and that will help keep accumulations less there, otherwise this is a snow event with many of you realizing a foot or more of snow before this is all over with Friday morning.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 7 am Thursday until 7 am Friday for the entire Pioneer Valley.

The first flakes should begin to fly around daybreak with the snow becoming steadier through the morning commute. Snow becomes heavy at times as winds begin to increase throughout the day. By mid to late afternoon that rain snow line may advance as far north as the southern valley with a mix of snow, sleet and rain lasting into the evening. Snow continues elsewhere into the overnight, changing back to all snow in those locations where a mix does take place.

Snow is expected to accumulate 6 to 8 inches through the day with an additional 4 to 8 inches overnight, lower amounts where the mixing takes place. Total storm accumulations of 12 to 16 inches north and western valley, 10 to 12 inches in greater Springfield with 8 to 10 where the mixing occurs. If the mix line does not get far enough north to impact the southern valley then expect several more inches of snow instead.

Northeast winds will begin to increase early Thursday and will gust upwards of 30 to 35 mph in the afternoon and overnight, backing to northwest late and remaining gusty.

Some leftover snow showers Friday morning with partial clearing in the afternoon as the storm system pulls away through the Gulf of Maine and heads for the Canadian Maritimes.

Believe it or not another weaker disturbance comes through late Friday night into Saturday and may deliver another round of light snow accumulations at that time. Then, another shot of colder air Saturday night into Sunday and Sunday night. There is no let up!

72 Hour Outlook:

Tonight: Becoming cloudy. Chance of a few snowflakes toward dawn. Not as cold. Low temperatures in the teens. Light southeast to east winds.

Thursday and Thursday night: Snow, heavy at times, possibly mixing with sleet and rain southern valley late day and evening. Overnight, a change back to snow where any mixing does occur with snow continuing north and west valley. Highs in the low 30s. Lows in the upper 20s to 30 degrees. Northeast winds gusting to around 35 mph, backing to northwest late.

Friday: Snow ends very early, perhaps as snow showers. Partial afternoon clearing. Windy and cold. Highs in the low to mid 30s. Northwest winds gusting to near 30 mph, diminishing in the afternoon.

Friday night: A chance of light snow. Colder, lows near 20.

Saturday: A chance of light snow. Highs in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Saturday night: Becoming partly cloudy and much colder. Lows close to 10.

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