Weather Authority: Thursday evening snow to kick off wintry stretch

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So far the service is predicting areas in Western Massachusetts could see between 24 and 30 inches of snow, while Boston is forecast to get 8 to 12 inches of accumulation.

- The next few days will really look and feel like winter and it's all expected to begin with snow Thursday evening.

A "powerful winter storm" will impact the region this weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Also, at times, visibility will be low due to snow and blowing snow, especially on rural roads. Strong winds may also create risky snow drifts.

A First Alert Day will be in effect from noon Friday through 6 pm Saturday. Accumulations of less than an inch were expected in areas south of I-80.

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Meteorologists expect a second, larger winter storm to track a similar path from Friday to Sunday night, potentially dumping more than a foot of snow along a stretch starting in IL, heading through NY and up to Maine.

The overnight slow Sunday night into Martin Luther King Jr. "Heavy snow develops Saturday night, with snowfall rates averaging 1-2" per hour through early Sunday morning.

Last year, almost 8 million people flew between Friday and Monday of the Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday. We can't rule out the chance for a flurry Saturday morning, but we expect the heaviest snow in the afternoon.

SATURDAY: Evening snow turning to rain. Meteorologists predict that heavy snow from the eastern Great Lakes to northern New England is most likely, as well as sleet and freezing rain in the Ohio Valley and Appalachians.

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