Snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain — there will be something for everyone not to like in Thursday’s storm.
“Initially, it’s going to be snow everywhere, with heaviest snowfall accumulation in areas north and west of Boston, especially outside of [I-495],’’ said National Weather Service meteorologist William Babcock. Later, he said, the precipitation in some areas will change to rain and sleet — before potentially changing again back to snow.
In the Berkshires, where the storm will be all snow, some isolated areas could see flakes piling up to 24 inches high, the weather service said in a forecast discussion posted on the Internet.
In Boston, 3 to 5 inches are expected. Snow amounts could grow quickly as you move west, though, with other areas within Route 128 getting 6 to 8 inches, and areas within I-495 getting as much as 14 inches.
The amounts are expected to stay lower along the coast and taper off to the south and east, with only 2 to 4 inches expected in Southeastern Massachusetts and 1 to 2 inches on Cape Cod, according to a weather service snowfall forecast map.
Winter storm warnings have been issued for most of the state, effective between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday.
Strong wind gusts are expected along the coast, with winds blowing east 20 to 30 miles per hour and gusting up to 50 miles per hour.
Coastal flooding is also a concern as the storm hits during Thursday’s high tide, its winds whipping up the seas.
“We’re going to see some fairly rough seas heading toward shore and that does give us some concern,’’ Babcock said. “But the tide isn’t as high as it could be … which we have going in our favor.’’
At about 3 p.m., the snow in Boston should change to just rain for a couple of hours, then back to a rain-snow mix through the evening. Some additional snow showers are expected overnight, bringing less than an inch more of snow.
“We could see some leftover snow first thing in the morning Friday, but it will be winding down at that time,’’ Babcock said. “We’re also watching for another weather system that could bring another half-inch Friday night into Saturday night.’’
Clouds are expected to roll in tonight as lows drop to 19 degrees, a welcome relief from last night’s lows, which went below zero in many areas.
Temperatures will reach the upper 30s Thursday afternoon near the coast, but remain below freezing in the interior, where snow will persist. Blustery winds will arrive in the evening as the precipitation starts to peter out. Temperatures will stay relatively warm overnight, sinking to 31 degrees at the lowest.
After the snow clears out Friday, skies will turn sunny with highs near 39. Valentine’s Day celebrators can expect a cloudy and cool evening, with temperatures dropping into the upper 20s.
Some light snow should start falling after 1 a.m. Saturday, bringing another inch to the region before 9 a.m. Partly sunny skies will prevail for the rest of the day as highs climb into the mid-30s.