WAKEFIELD — Residents awoke today to a thin crust of ice on their cars and streets, left by the first wave of a slow-moving nor’easter churning into New England.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rains and strong wind to coastal areas, at least half a foot of heavy, wet snow inland and a wintry mix to all six New England states.
DPW administrators sent crews out to salt around 11:30 last night. They made one pass through the town. Around mid-morning, public works Director Richard Stinson said he hadn’t heard of any local motor vehicle accidents although they were common in other communities in the Commonwealth.
The storm made for a slippery morning commute in parts of Massachusetts, where State Police responded to numerous crashes and spinouts caused by icy roads, some involving their own cruisers. New Hampshire awoke to light snow, freezing rain and sleet.
As the rains soaked town streets today, Stinson urged Wakefield residents to make sure the catch basins near their homes are clear of leaves in order to avoid severely flooded streets and yards. He also advised motorists to take it easy on the roads because temperatures could fall tonight, a condition ripe for the creation of black ice. DPW crews will be back out tonight if the streets begin to ice.
Wakefield is expected to get about two inches of rain up until midnight.
Flood advisories are in effect in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some coastal areas also are under wind advisories, with 50 mile-per-hour gusts possible.
“There is a threat of sleet and freezing rain that could make for hazardous driving conditions for the morning commute,” said Benjamin Sipprell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton. “But it’s that 1 p.m. time frame that we are most concerned about with heavy rain and winds and also the heaviest snow,” he said.
Snowfall is expected to be minimal along the Interstate 95 corridor from Philadelphia to Boston but winter storm watches and warnings have been issued for inland parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and northern New England.
Some higher elevations could get two feet of snow through Thursday.
In Massachusetts, the storm is expected to bring mostly rain and strong winds to the eastern part of the state but some parts of western Massachusetts could see six or more inches of snow on Tuesday.
Other areas, including New York’s Catskills and Adirondacks, could get up to two feet of snow through Thursday before the plodding storm takes its leave.
The heavy, wet snow and gusty winds could combine to bring down tree limbs and power lines, causing outages.
New Hampshire is expecting a mix of rain, snow and sleet. Power companies were making preparations for the storm, which comes less than two weeks after nasty Thanksgiving weather knocked out electricity to more than 200,000 people.
The National Weather Service offices in Taunton and Albany issued bulletins yesterday on the significant coastal storm
The strongest part of the storm will be Tuesday into Tuesday night but the storm may linger into Wednesday and possibly longer. The main impacts of this storm will be a period of heavy wet snow, heavy rain and associated flooding and strong damaging winds.
A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, western Hampden and northern Worcester counties. In these areas, there is a possibility of 6” or more of snow.
A Flood Watch has been issued for eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, with the exception of the Cape and Islands.
A High Wind Watch has been issued for the south coast of Massachusetts, including the Cape and Islands and the Cape Ann area.
According to the Mass. Emergency Management Agency, pockets of minor coastal flooding are possible during the time of high tide, which is generally around noon Tuesday. Surges of 2 to 2.5 ft. above the astronomical tide are expected. East-facing beaches have the greatest risk for flooding. Strongest winds are expected a few hours after the high tide but if they arrive faster than expected, there will be a potential for a few spots with moderate coastal flooding.
Damaging wind gusts to 60 mph are possible along the south coast Tuesday morning, shifting northward, reaching Cape Ann late Tuesday afternoon or early evening. Gusts up to 40 mph may occur in the higher terrain in the central and western parts of the state. The strong winds may result in downed limbs and power lines and isolated power outages.
Heavy rainfall of 2 to 2.5 inches is expected beginning toward daybreak Tuesday and continuing into Tuesday evening. The majority of the rainfall may occur in a six-hour period from 1 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Isolated thunderstorms are also possible, especially in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts in this time period. The heavy rainfall may cause pockets of urban flash flooding.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.