If you haven’t already, it’s time to bust out those winter boots.
The Bay State is expected to be hit by a light winter storm Tuesday through Wednesday that should dump as much as 2 to 5 inches of snow across the commonwealth, impacting Western and Central Massachusetts the harshest, according to forecasters.
The storm will barrel through the state starting Tuesday afternoon and evening. By the time the light precipitation event winds down Wednesday morning, between 3 and 4 inches of snow will have fallen throughout the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley and Worcester County, the National Weather Service said.
A pocket of roughly 5 inches of snow is forecast in northern Berkshire County near North Adams, the weather service noted.
Around 2 inches of snow is expected across much of Eastern Massachusetts, though Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and areas around the tip of Cape Cod should see closer to an inch or less, according to officials.
The weather service warned of a 4- to 6-hour window where there is around a 30 to 40% chance of snow falling at a rate of more than an inch per hour, possibly coinciding with part of the Tuesday evening commute and leading to roads being briefly blanketed by the precipitation.
A winter weather advisory has been issued for Western and Central Massachusetts, where forecasters caution the snowy weather could cause hazardous driving conditions.
“Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute,” the weather service said. “Slow down and use caution while traveling.”
In terms of timing, snow should start falling in Western Massachusetts as early as 2 p.m. Tuesday, spread to Worcester County by 4 or 5 p.m. and then hit the eastern half of the state by around 6 p.m., eventually expanding to the Cape and other coastal areas by roughly 7 p.m., according to forecasters.
Much of the snow will fall Tuesday night. The precipitation will then taper off Wednesday, ending between 7 and 10 a.m. across nearly all of Massachusetts, officials said.
Meteorologists are anticipating another round of much lighter precipitation in the wake of Tuesday and Wednesday’s snowfall.
According to the weather service, the second round of precipitation Wednesday will be more of an ocean-effect snow and should impact mainly Eastern Massachusetts as far west as the Interstate 95 corridor.
“With the snow intensity modest at best after the possible initial burst and spread out over 24 hours, travel impacts should be limited,” the agency said. “Moreover, temperatures are expected to warm to above-freezing by mid to late morning south and east of the I-95 corridor in MA and RI, so precipitation will probably mix with or even change over to rain, further cutting down the potential snow accumulation.”
The light precipitation will likely be followed by the coldest temperatures of the year later this week, according to forecasters. Lows Friday night are expected to drop to 15 degrees on the Cape, 11 degrees in Boston, 7 degrees in Worcester and 6 degrees in Springfield.
There is a possibility of another winter storm hitting Massachusetts over the weekend, with a more significant amount of snow and wintry mix possible late Sunday into early next week, officials said. The forecast is subject to change more than 72 hours out.
“Way too early for details, but needs to be watched,” the weather service said about Sunday’s potential wintry weather event.