Forecasters predict close call on winter storm


Updated 8:50 am, February 12, 2014

National Weather Service forecasters predict another winter storm will affect New England late Wednesday and into Thursday, but spare Martha’s Vineyard any significant snowfall.

Strong west-northwest winds are forecast, with the potential to disrupt travel, including ferry service. The weather service posted a gale warning for coastal waters, from Thursday morning to late Thursday evening. Winds are predicted to range from 15 to 20 knots, with gusts up to 35 knots over coastal waters.

The storm will track through southern states into New England, dumping a foot or more of snow in central Massachusetts, according to the weather service.

The forecast calls for snow early Thursday morning, with about an inch of accumulation expected on the Island before a changeover to rain late Thursday morning. In a hazardous weather outlook statement issued Tuesday afternoon, forecasters said they have a high degree of confidence in the predicted storm track.

“A very complex weather pattern will continue to affect the southern U.S. through Thursday. A mixture of winter weather hazards, including heavy snow and freezing rain will continue across the Southeast Wednesday before moving up the Eastern Seaboard, where it will affect parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast into Friday.,” weather service forecasters wrote in their Wednesday morning forecast.

The storm is expected to be severe in southern states from Texas to North Carolina. Airlines have cancelled more than 1,000 flights, and officials in Alabama and Georgia have already declared states of emergency, according to news reports.