Lingering snow and rain showers are still hovering over parts of the state, but much of the precipitation has moved out into the Gulf of Maine, according to the National Weather Service.
Although the worst is over, a rush of frigid air could move into the state this afternoon, turning pools of rain into dangerous patches of ice for the evening commute, Foley said.
“The concern may be that as the precipitation ends later this afternoon, the wind shifts around to the northwest and that’s going to carry some cold air into the region,” he said. “That could be somewhat hazardous.”
But if high winds can dry up the standing water before the cold air sets in, commuters may be in the clear, Foley said.
“It’s going to be a race between the two,” he said.
The biggest risk for icy roads is west of Interstate 495, Foley said.
He added that because public works officials had a good head start on the storm, most roads have already been treated. Still, residents should make sure to salt sidewalks and driveways to prevent slippery ice, he said.
Commuters in Central and Western Massachusetts already had a slow and dangerous drive this morning because of significant snowfall.
Weather spotters reported 10 inches in Leyden and Heath, 9 inches in Athol, and 7.5 inches in Fitchburg.
Christopher Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service in Washington, said the Boston area was spared snow because the storm’s low pressure area is along the coastline, which pulls in warmer air from the ocean and prevents precipitation from becoming snow.
“With low pressure overhead, you have easterly winds which carry relatively warmer air and that warmer air keeps precipitation in liquid form,” Vaccaro said. “Further inland, where you’re away from the ocean influence and colder air is locked in and the winds are more northerly, those northerly winds continue to enhance the cold air, and that’s where you see snow fall.”
Boston has already received 1.63 inches of rain and could see an additional tenth of an inch, he said.
Snow accumulation in New Hampshire was expected to reach 10 to 14 inches, he said. In Western Massachusetts, accumulations were expected of four to eight inches—a lesser amount than New Hampshire because sleet and freezing rain is mixing with snow.
Whipping winds added to the dangerous conditions. A gust of 72 miles per hour was recorded in Harwich, and Brookline braved winds as strong as 64 miles per hour, the weather service said.
The high winds caused a tree to fall on a garage in Seekonk and tore down a tree in Falmouth that blocked a lane of Route 28 this morning, weather observers reported to the service. In Marshfield, a tree was reported down on a house on Pilgrim Road.
More than 400 NStar customers are without power this afternoon, according to the utility’s outage map. National Grid’s map listed less than 100 customers without power. Most of the affected customers live along the Boston coastline and Cape Cod.
Along the coast, waves battered the shore, especially during high tide, which began at about 10 a.m., Foley said.
The weather service issued a coastal flood advisory for Barnstable, Bristol, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, and Suffolk counties because large waves were expected to break over seawalls and flood shore roads with seawater and debris.
Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester and the Short Beach roadway in Winthrop were closed, State Police said.
Beach Road in Tisbury was also closed, said MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes.
Ocean Avenue in Hull, and streets in Salem, Revere, Scituate, Mattapoisett, and Cohasset were impassable due to flood waters, Foley said.
There were preventive evacuations in Plum Island as high waves crashed close to homes, he said.
The sloppy weather caused some minor accidents and ramp closures in the Boston area during the morning commute, said State Police Trooper Thomas Murphy. Problem areas included the ramp from Route 1 southbound to Route 16 and the ramp from Route 128 southbound to Route 20 in Waltham, he said. Route 1 at Route 128 in Peabody was closed during the early morning hours because of a downed power line.
All ramps have since been reopened.
“We still urge people to be cautious when driving because of the inclement weather,” Verseckes said. “It’s not snow but it’s still a little bit messy out there. At our peak we had about just over 1,200 pieces of equipment statewide … treating or clearing roads.”
Ferries from Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, Hyannis, and Nantucket were canceled this morning due to unsafe weather conditions, according to the Steamship Authority.
Ice skating at Frog Pond in Boston Common will also be closed today because of the weather.