The National Weather Service upgraded the storm watch for Wednesday to a blizzard warning around 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday due to 45 mph wind gusts predicted to blow snow around and create serious hazards for anyone outdoors. In fact, the weather service advises those in the warning area, which includes the North Shore, to stay indoors.
“Driving conditions will deteriorate rapidly early this morning,” NWS reports. “Heavy snow will significantly impact the morning commute. Strong northeast winds will combine with heavy snow to create blizzard conditions at times.”
The blizzard warning was then extended from expiring at 8 a.m. this morning until 8 p.m., according to another alert issued at 12:31 a.m. on Wednesday.
Snowfall for the Danvers area is still predicted between 12 and 16 inches with the heaviest accumulation this morning between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. – about 9-13 inches, falling at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour.
NWS said snowfall began across northern Connecticut, western Massachusetts and much of Rhode Island around midnight, quickly spreading across central and eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire by 1:30 a.m. Heavy snow was predicted to hit coastal Massachusetts by 2 a.m.
Winds are predicted to blow at 20-30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. Visibility is expected to be a quarter mile or less at times, nearing whiteout conditions.
“A blizzard warning is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts over 35 mph are expected with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow,” says the NWS. “Visibilities will become poor with whiteout conditions at times. Those venturing outdoors may become lost or disoriented. Persons in the warning area are advised to stay indoors.”