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More snow to fall on above-norm New England winter

By Rodrique Ngowi
Associated Press / January 26, 2011

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BOSTON—A winter storm could dump up to a foot of snow over much of southern New England by Thursday, in line with a persistent weather pattern that has generated above-average snowfalls for the region this season, forecasters said.

The storm was expected to blow in Wednesday evening.

Fast-moving heavy, wet snows could accumulate at rates of 1 to 2 inches across southeast Massachusetts, National Weather Service meteorologist Hayden Frank said. Rhode Island may get 4 to 8 inches, and Connecticut 6 to 12.

"The heaviest amounts are more likely in eastern Connecticut, but the potential is there for the whole state," Frank said. "The wind shouldn't be a factor there. It should be more of a drier snow."

Strong winds, with gusts up to 50 mph, were predicted for Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket in Massachusetts and for Block Island in Rhode Island. A high-tide cycle will most likely bring coastal flooding along the Massachusetts coast early Thursday morning, Frank said.

Southern New Hampshire could get 4 to 8 inches of snow.

"But there are still some questions as to the northern extent of the heavy snow," he said.

National Grid PLC, one of the largest utility companies in the region, said it would deploy extra crews at key locations in the region to deal with potential storm damage.

"The company is communicating its plan to municipal officials throughout the region to ensure a coordinated response," the company said in a statement released ahead of the storm.

Frank attributed the string of snow storms that have pummeled the region in the last few weeks to a dip in the jetstream in the northeast U.S. that has allowed cold air to come down from Canada.

"We've had our snowfalls well above normal this year," he said.

Boston has received 50.4 inches of snow through Tuesday, a nearly 270 percent increase over normal snowfalls of 18.8 inches at the same time in the season, Frank said. Worcester in central Massachusetts has gotten 49.3 inches so far while the norm is 28.7 inches, he said. Providence, R.I., has had 31.7 inches for the season, twice the norm of 15.7 inches. Bradley International Airport in Connecticut has gotten 59.1 inches of snow, more than double the normal 22.8 inches, he said.