BOSTON (AP) — Heavy wet snow, rain and high winds blanketed Massachusetts on Thursday, forcing some state offices and schools to close amid forecasts of up to 18 inches of snow for some areas and the possibility of power outages.
Up to 18 inches of snow could fall in the central and western areas of the state, according to the National Weather Service, with widespread totals of 10 to 14 inches expected. Most schools closed in that part of the state, including Springfield and Worcester. Some schools in the eastern part of the state closed early.
The weather service said up to 10 inches has fallen in Worcester and Middlesex County by late afternoon Thursday. The Essex County has received up to 7 inches. The Boston area has had to deal with heavy snow and strong winds.
But the NWS issued a wind advisory for eastern coastal Massachusetts, with winds of 25 mph to 35 mph expected and the possibility of 50 mph gusts.
Non-essential executive branch state workers in the five westernmost counties were given the day off.
Meanwhile, some Massachusetts residents took the winter weather in stride.
Beverly Hisman, 75, of Clinton, was heading into the storm, taking the Amtrak Downeaster from Boston’s North Station to visit a friend in Maine.
‘‘People always make a big deal out of the snow, but we live in New England — we have to expect it,’’ she said. ‘‘Just like when you live in Florida you have to expect the hurricanes.’’
Tamjid Kazi, 63, of Boston, said he doesn’t enjoy the snow, but he bears with it.
‘‘New England has been fortunate this year,’’ said Kazi, who was traveling to Lowell for work. ‘‘The South has been hit worst.’’
Boston’s Logan International Airport remained open, but Massport Aviation Chief Ed Freni said about a third of all flights in and out had been cancelled, not because of the local weather, but weather conditions in the South.
‘‘It’s a snowball effect, for lack of a better description,’’ he said, reminding passengers to check with their airlines about the status of their flights.
Freni said the airport hopes to get things back on track by Friday, because it is heading into a busy travel period with most Massachusetts schools on February break next week.
Beau Jordan Marshall, 22, of Lyme, N.H., was headed to Washington to visit his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day and visit friends and relatives in the region. He took a two-hour-plus bus ride and arrived at Logan at 10 a.m. Thursday for a noon flight, only to learn it had been canceled and rescheduled for Friday morning. Instead of trying to change it or find a hotel he stayed at the airport and waited it out.
‘‘I'll probably spend my time watching some movies, catching up on some TV, chit-chatting with people here and there and kind of seeing how everyone is doing back home and, you know, seeing how . how the snow is really shaping up down South,’’ he said.