Weekend Storm Alert Upgraded to Blizzard Watch

This forecast map from the National Weather Service (weather.gov) shows expected snow coverage on Friday night, Feb. 8, 2013. A blizzard watch is in effect for the Boston area down to Providence, RI.

The National Weather Service’s winter storm alert issued earlier today has been replaced with a “Blizzard Watch,” in effect starting Friday morning.

“A potential historic winter storm and blizzard is expected to drop one to two feet of snow across much of the region Friday into Saturday,” the National Weather Service alert states.

The watch affects much of eastern Massachusetts, including the Boston area, as well as northern and central Rhode Island, and runs Friday morning into Saturday afternoon. Temperatures will be in the mid 20s.

The National Weather Service is forecasting “heavy snow with the potential for blizzard conditions and accumulations of 12 to 24 inches.” Light snow is expected to develop by Friday morning, increasing in intensity during the afternoon. The heaviest snowfall will occur Friday night into Saturday morning, when snowfall rates that could reach 2-3 inches per hour.

“Heavy snow and strong winds will bring the potential for blizzard conditions,” the National Weather Service reports. “Travel may become nearly impossible with blowing and drifting snow.”

Winds are expected to be at 25-35 miles per hour, with gusts up to 55 mph, resulting in visibility of one quarter mile or less at times.

 “White out conditions will be possible, making travel very dangerous,” according to the weather alert. “Be prepared to alter any travel plans.”

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