Updated: Storm inches closer, could deliver up to 2 feet in Southern Vermont
BENNINGTON — Forecasters are warning of a major winter storm that could bring significant travel difficulties at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and into early next week.
Total snowfall of 12 to 24 inches is expected in Southern Vermont by the time the storm winds down early Tuesday after setting up shop in the region for nearly 48 hours.
A winter storm warning was issued Saturday by the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., effective from 11 a.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Tuesday, increasing the predicted snow accumulation and cautioning that winds could gust as high as 35 m.p.h.
The impact includes snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and hazardous driving conditions, with 3 to 7 inches on the ground by Sunday evening. By early Tuesday, one to two feet of snow may blanket the region, with lower amounts in eastern New York, central and eastern Massachusetts and Connecticut.
"Travel could be very difficult to impossible," the weather service cautioned, with major hazards Sunday night, as well as during the Monday morning and evening commutes.
The slow-moving coastal storm tracking up the mid-Atlantic coast and off Cape Cod is not expected to move out until Tuesday morning.
"We're talking probably a good 36 to potentially 42-hour storm, something like that," said Joe Villani, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.
"Once you get to like late Sunday morning onward, that's when things are going to considerably deteriorate in terms of travel conditions" with snow-covered roads and poor visibility, Villani said.
Villani advised those who must travel during the storm to be prepared — make sure car defrosters work, and have plenty of windshield washer fluid.
A storm like this is "definitely within the realm of normal" for the area this time of year, Villani said.
"Really, it's December to March is the most likely time frame for those," he said. "So we're kind of right on schedule here."
Once residents get through the storm, weather for the rest of next week looks uneventful, Villani said.
There are a couple of weak disturbances — like weak cold fronts — that are moving fast, but they don't really have the chance to develop into significant storms, he said.
"Nothing certainly even remotely close to what we're going to see here coming up Sunday into Monday," he said. "We just got to get through the next few days."
Temperatures also look relatively normal for the area next week, around the mid-30s with a possible slight warmup at the end of the week, potentially into the upper 30s, Villani said.
"It's pretty close to average, maybe slightly below normal, but nothing considerable," he said.
Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at email@example.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.
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