A storm moving across the region is expected to continue sending rain across southern New England through Wednesday morning, potentially having an impact on Thanksgiving travel after already bringing snow in some spots Tuesday night.
Snowflakes started to fly in western Massachusetts around 9 p.m. while rain moved in elsewhere. By 10 p.m., snow was creeping into some communities further east including Shrewsbury and Leominster.
The rain/snow line was expected to push out of Massachusetts into New Hampshire early Wednesday morning. Even so, preparations were underway in Leominster Tuesday.
“We’re prepping some trucks up in case we have to go out,” said Leominster Department of Public Works Dispatcher Luke Beaulac.
Snowfall forecasts from 7NEWS meteorologists as of Tuesday night projected one to two inches of snow through part of Worcester County and western Massachusetts, with higher snow totals further north.
Even where snow piles up though, accumulation was expected to be brief, with rain and warming temperatures Wednesday likely washing away snow in Massachusetts.
Rain across Massachusetts and wind in coastal communities is set to persist through the morning before tapering off near 12 p.m. Wednesday.
‘It’s New England. We deal with it’
In Leominster, Beaulac was taking forecasts for a messy night and morning commute in stride Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s New England,” he said. “We deal with it.”
Traffic on I-495 was steady for most of the day Tuesday, getting heavier through the afternoon. As the day continued and the evening’s wintery mix approached, traffic backed up throughout the region.
Speaking with 7NEWS, one driver from Pennsylvania was aware weather conditions were expected to deteriorate into Wednesday.
The driver, Larry Spencer, said he was thankful he got ahead of the storm as he made his way toward his destination in Maine.
“Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes you’re not,” he said. “The last time we came up it rained the whole way there so, it is what it is.”
“Thanksgiving combined with weather, it’s always worse,” said Sanjusha Kolli.
Even with the potential for winter weather, many holiday travelers on Tuesday were not concerned.
“It doesn’t bother me,” said Joe Mazerolle in Leominster.
“Be flexible,” said Amy Caputi at Logan Airport in Boston. “Just expect the worst and then you’ll probably get the best.”
Storm prompts ferry disruptions
Wind advisories on the North Shore and the Cape and Islands region are set to take effect at 4 a.m. Wednesday and remain in place through 4 p.m.
In western Massachusetts, winter weather advisories took effect at 7 p.m. Tuesday, scheduled to lapse on Wednesday morning.
With gale warnings and gusty winds also expected at sea around New England, the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce took to social media Tuesday afternoon to urge anyone traveling to or from Nantucket to adjust their schedules.
“Make sure you are set to receive alerts from your ferry or airline, and please be patient as they work to rebook passengers,” the chamber said.
Around the same time, the Steamship Authority, which runs ferry service to and from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, announced it was making changes to its Nantucket service, canceling some trips on Wednesday while adding trips on Friday.
“Anyone booked for travel on a canceled trip on either route will be accommodated as space is available when service resumes,” the Steamship Authority said.
Officials said change and cancellation fees will be waived for all travel booked for Wednesday and directed travelers to the Steamship Authority website for more information.
Storm impacts expected across many states
Storm impacts are expected to extend far outside New England, with more than four inches of rain possible in part of Virginia, according to CNN.
While northern states faced a wintery mix, CNN said some communities in Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia could encounter thunderstorms Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
This year’s Thanksgiving season is expected to be the busiest in several years, according to AAA projections, with 55.4 million people expected to travel 50 miles or more from home between Wednesday and Sunday. Though many people are driving, CNN earlier this month reported the Transportation Security Administration is also preparing for a potentially record-setting number of passengers at airports during the Thanksgiving rush.
While bad weather could snarl some travel, clearer skies are expected to prevail in New England through the weekend, with high temperatures climbing to 50 degrees in some spots on Thursday.
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