Jim Arnold, weather specialist with Shrewsbury Emergency Management, doesn't think he's used the words "fasten your seatbelts" in a weather update more than four times in the past 25 years. On Wednesday, he did.
"I think we will see blizzard conditions developing by late Friday afternoon," said Arnold. "Snow will begin around or just before dawn and should be fairly light until mid morning when it will become heavier and the wind will begin to increase. Heavy blowing and drifting snow should be our lot during the afternoon possibly reaching blizzard and occasional whiteout conditions in the late afternoon, and continuing throughout the night and into early Saturday morning."
There is also the chance of seeing “thundersnow”, from embedded thunderstorms in the heaviest bands of snow during Friday night, said. According to Arnold, the snow, by the end of the storm, could accumulate within the 18- to 24-inch range for much of inland southern New England. Some, he added, might get more.
"There will also be considerable blowing and drifting of the snow, which will be of the light, powdery variety," said Arnold. "The wind will increase from the east and northeast during Friday afternoon, reaching speeds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts approaching 50 mph. Drifts could reach six feet in height or more in exposed areas."
Temperatures will remain in the mid 20s for the duration of the storm.
"With heavy snow and quite strong winds there is the chance of scattered tree damage and isolated power outages," said Arnold. " The Friday evening commute will likely be a nightmare, and travel conditions will deteriorate further overnight Friday into Saturday morning."