After a sunny start on New Year's Day, the first snowstorm of 2014 could deliver about a foot of snow to southern New England, including parts of western Massachusetts, from late Wednesday night through Friday morning.
While previous storms this winter season have provided quick bursts of heavy snow, this storm will be much more prolonged. About 24 hours may separate the first and last snowflakes to fall in Springfield, if not a little longer.
The snow is expected to begin a few hours before dawn on Thursday. A line of lighter snow showers extending from Cleveland, OH to Denver, CO on Wednesday afternoon will slowly work its way into the Springfield area after midnight.
This ribbon of snow will produce minor snow accumulations of just a couple of inches through Thursday afternoon. However, it will merge with another storm system developing up the Atlantic Coast, forming a true nor'easter Thursday night and providing some heavier snow across the region.
The hardest-hit timeframe appears to be late Thursday evening through early Friday morning. Blizzard conditions are possible along the southern New England coast and Cape Cod as wind gusts could get above 40 mph.
How these two systems interact as one will ultimately dictate the final snowfall totals. The latest forecast calls for about 8 to 10 inches in Springfield through Friday morning, with a foot of snow still a possibility for some towns in western Massachusetts as well.
After this snowstorm is through, bitter-cold temperatures will grip the region. Overnight lows are expected to dangerously be 10 to 15 degrees below zero Friday night.
The complete 7-day forecast can be found in the Weather section.
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