Boston could get 4 to 6 inches of snow, W. Mass. could get 14 in Thursday storm

A winter storm will lash the region Thursday and Thursday night, dumping heavy, wet snow in the interior and snow changing to rain along the coast, while whipping up strong winds, the National Weather Service said.

A National Weather Service snowfall forecast map issued this afternoon showed Boston getting 4 to 6 inches and snowfall amounts increasing to the west, with some areas in Central and Western Massachusetts getting blanketed with 10 to 14 inches.

The expected snowfall amounts taper away to the south and east, with the South Shore only getting 2 to 4 inches and parts of the Cape and islands getting less than an inch.

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“Snow will be wet and heavy and the winds could gust up to 50 miles per hour, and that’s always a concern with power lines and power outages,” weather service meteorologist Charlie Foley said.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm watches for interior sections of the state, effective from Thursday morning to Friday morning.

The weather service said snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour would be possible, with snow beginning to fall after midnight Thursday and picking up intensity into Thursday night.

Visibility will go down to a quarter-mile or less with the snow, and travel is expected to be difficult from early Thursday into Friday morning.

Strong winds buffeting the coast could drive seas to 12 to 17 feet. If the surge builds enough, minor coastal flooding could happen during Thursday night’s high tide, mainly on east-facing beaches south of Boston to Cape Cod and Nantucket, forecasters said in a discussion posted on the Internet.

Meanwhile, dry and cold conditions are expected through Wednesday. This morning was bitterly cold. The coldest temperature recorded in the state was in Orange, where the mercury dropped to minus 11.

Skies are expected to stay clear tonight with lows dropping to 8 degrees and some wind gusts as high as 21 miles per hour.

Wednesday will be sunny and dry, with highs cresting near 24 degrees. Wind chill values could drop as low as minus-2 as clouds roll in during the evening. Temperatures should only sink to 20 degrees overnight.

Conditions will be dry most of Thursday, with highs near 35 degrees and snow not expected to fall until after 5 p.m. Showers should begin as snow, then change to rain and snow in the evening as lows sink near 30 degrees. All snow should prevail after 1 a.m., petering out before 7 a.m. Friday.

Skies will be mostly sunny Friday, with highs at a mild 40 degrees. Some snow could fall in the afternoon, though forecasters expect it to be light.

“It will be pretty quick-moving, maybe 1 to 2 inches at the worst,” Foley said. Precipitation will peter out in the evening as lows drop into the upper 20s overnight.