Mass. weather: Here’s when to expect the snow to start falling

Massachusetts is preparing for a punch of winter this week, as a storm extending from Tuesday night into Thursday could bring up to 7 inches of snow in some areas and heavy rains in others, making for a messy event that is likely to snarl travel across the state.

The Berkshires and higher elevations are likely to be hit first with snow, in the early hours of Wednesday and continuing largely unabated until Friday evening.

Forecasters are anticipating snowfall beginning around 6 p.m. Wednesday in eastern parts of the state like Boston and Lowell, with flakes beginning earlier Wednesday in Worcester, around 3 p.m. Much of the precipitation in those areas and even in Western Massachusetts will likely fall as rain for the duration of the storm.

Outside of the Cape and Islands, there is a chance the entire state will see some snowfall this week.

With April Fool’s come and gone, the Weather Service said this storm is no prank.

“Unfortunately, the forecast resembles more of winter rather than spring,” forecasters wrote. “A long duration event is expected to bring multiple hazards to southern New England as early as Wednesday and through Thursday night. While the impactful weather will be coming to an end late Thursday night, unsettled conditions do [continue] for Friday.”

A National Weather Service map showing areas of the state expected to see some snowfall.

Already the weather service has set down a Winter Storm Watch for Western Franklin and Hampshire Counties in Western Massachusetts, as forecasters said those areas could see roughly 7 inches of snow, whipping winds, and ice accumulations.

For much of the rest of the state, heavy rain brings renewed concern for flooding, with coastal flooding likely in areas along the east coast of Massachusetts, according to forecasters.

“The combination of wind and rain or snow will lead to significant travel problems on the highways,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski wrote, cautioning “Unlike many storms from the winter and early spring, the early April storm will linger for days.”

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