Snow is rushing in this evening as much of New England is under a winter storm warning.
The latest weather models hammer us with intense snow from 7 to 11 p.m. before warming temperatures in the middle atmosphere and near the coast turn us to ice and rain. Snowfall rates of up to 1 to 2 inches an hour are anticipated.
Some schools canceled afternoon activities and evening classes Thursday, and some districts have already announced closures and delays for Friday.
We don't often say this, but since it's the first storm of the season and because of the frenzied pace of the snow this evening, it's wise to stay off the roads from 7 until midnight.
Massachusetts officials are echoing that warning.
"This storm may have brief periods of heavy snowfall which will mean poor visibility for drivers," state Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said. "Commuters should also have a plan for travel tomorrow morning, as there may be flash freezing overnight as temperatures drop."
Winds will increase along the coast and the Cape and the Islands throughout the night. Some gusts may even top 50 mph at times, but this is almost solely at the water's edge.
The Boston area is expected to see anywhere from a dusting to 3 inches of snow, while Worcester, the Merrimack Valley and parts of western Massachusetts could see somewhere in the 3 to 6 inch range.
Parts of western and northern New Hampshire and Vermont and far western Massachusetts could see up to 9 inches of snow.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency says areas where strong winds occur may see tree damage and isolated power outages, and there may also be some ice accumulation in higher elevations in western and central Massachusetts.
With the upper and lower atmosphere warming through the night, a complete changeover to rain is expected by morning.
There may still be some delays due to sloppy roads or light icing in the Merrimack Valley and greater Worcester areas, but with the pace of the storm picking up around dawn, things will be improving throughout the day.
Complete storm wrap-up is expected by early afternoon. Melting and thawing are in order on Saturday with highs nearing 50.
MEMA says additional minor river flooding is possible starting Friday and continuing into the weekend as wintry precipitation melts, combines with rainfall, and flows into already elevated rivers.