Maps: When will the storm start in Rhode Island? How much snowfall can we expect?
PROVIDENCE — A winter storm watch is in effect Friday evening through Saturday due to the potential for heavy snowfall. Although the forecast is fluid, total accumulations of around 14 inches of snow are possible in Rhode Island.
Winds could gust up to 60 mph, creating the possibility of blizzard conditions. A blizzard warning could be issued if there are winds above 35 mph and visibility of a quarter mile or less for at least three hours. Snowfall is not a factor used to determine if a blizzard warning is issued.
“Looks like the last time our office issued a blizzard warning for Rhode Island was for the January 4, 2018 storm,” said Boston National Weather Service meteorologist William Leatham. “We first issued blizzard warnings on January 3, 2018, which were statewide. Blizzard conditions were reported on Block Island for this storm.
“The last time any part of the state saw blizzard conditions was for a storm on March 3, 2019, in Washington County.”
Rhode Island has not experienced a blizzard in 1,061 days, and there is no indication that this storm will trigger a blizzard warning.
The NWS Boston says commuters can expect “very difficult, if not impossible” travel conditions. They ask drivers to monitor the latest forecasts for road conditions and road closures.
Strong winds could damage trees and cause power outages.
As of 1 p.m., the National Weather Service said there was a 10% chance Rhode Island would receive up to 26 inches of snow, with the highest amounts in Warwick, Tiverton and Newport. Western towns like Burrillville, Foster and Hopkinton would get around 23 inches of snow in this unlikely scenario.
Winter precipitation is expected to arrive between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. Saturday. But snowfall is expected Friday evening.
Winter rainfall is expected to end around 5 p.m. Saturday for most of Rhode Island. But towns in the east of the state, like Bristol, could see the snow end by 8 p.m.