So far on this Leap Day, accumulations of 2-6″ of snow has fallen through early Wednesday evening across western Massachusetts. This was the first wave in this complex storm system which will be affecting our area through Thursday evening as March begins. A lull or break in the precipitation (and accumulating snow) will move in by mid-evening and last into the pre-dawn hours. During this time, just some spotty, mostly light snow/sleet and freezing rain/drizzle will be falling.
The second wave of low pressure and significant precipitation will arrive towards dawn Thursday. Initially, temperatures will be a bit too warm to support snow with sleet or freezing rain falling in the hills and mostly rain falling in the central and lower Pioneer Valley. The only exception is along and north of Route 2 above 1000 feet where mostly snow and sleet will return and immediately start to pile up again.
As the morning commute progresses, mixed precipitation will gradually change back over to wet snow from north to south. Initially, accumulations will be limited to non-paved surfaces with temperatures still near or just above freezing. But as the wave tracks just to our east and the atmosphere cools a bit above us, the snow will start to cover untreated road surfaces again and make it slick for the drive in. As we head towards the mid-day hours though, with the high sun angle this late in the season and with temperatures near the freezing mark, additional snow accumulations will be hard to come by and the snow mostly falls and melts (except in the higher terrain will accumulations will continue). A few to several more inches of snow is expected across our area from this second wave tomorrow. The snow tapers to flurries late in the day and ends tomorrow evening. Watch for widespread areas of black ice forming tomorrow night with a re-freeze.
Total Accumulation of snow and sleet: In the valley it looks as though 4-8″ will fall with 8-14″ of accumulation in the surrounding higher terrain. The highest locations at or above 1500 feet in northern Berkshire, western Franklin and northwestern Hampshire counties could see up to 18″ of snow! The snow will be a heavy, wet snow in the lower elevations which means a dangerous one to shovel and one that could lead to at least scattered power outages!