The major winter storm that will impact millions along the East Coast is heading for Southern New England. In fact the storm’s center may pass over Eastern Massachusetts Thursday night. The storm is tracking so close to the coast that it will allow milder air to arrive and change snow to rain in RI and SE MA on Thursday. Here is how we think the storm will affect everyday life Thursday into Friday.
Car Travel Impact Potential – This will not be the worst winter storm of the season in RI and SE MA. Some snow is likely at the start, and possibly at the end of the storm. Roads may be slick through mid to late morning on Thursday, and again early Friday. There is also the potential for some street flooding due to ice-clogged storm drains and moderate to heavy rain Thursday.
School Impact Potential – We do not think this storm warrants widespread school cancellations or delays in Southeastern New England. Southeastern Massachusetts and coastal RI will see a fairly quick change to rain, and school should not be delayed or postponed in those areas. While there will likely be some snow accumulation in the Providence Metro area, we still think the best course of action is to have school. It’s a tougher call in NW RI where the wintry weather will be stubborn. There is also the possibility of the Friday morning commute being affected by snow on the back side of the storm. We’ll have a better idea about that potential tomorrow.
Air Travel Impact Potential – The storm may not wreak havoc in Warwick or Boston, but the residual effects of the storm are already being felt with many flights from the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast already cancelled. This is a paralyzing storm in those areas, and a high-impact air travel storm for much of the country due to the residual effects of large airports like ATL, DCA, PHL, LGA, BWI, being hit hard.
Wind Potential – It will be windy, but we do not expect the winds to be strong enough to cause widespread damage to trees and power lines. Isolated outages are possible near the coast – especially in Eastern MA.