LOWELL -- Forecasters are predicting 10 to 14 inches of snow will fall in Greater Lowell as a powerful winter storm arrives on Thursday, but at least some of the precipitation will likely be sleet or freezing rain.
And there isn't much margin for error in that forecast.
Areas further inland, such as Fitchburg and Leominster, will likely get as much as 14 to 18 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service, while areas near the coast could get as little as 4 to 6 inches.
That's because warm air coming from the East will cause much of the precipitation to be rain near the coast, and Greater Lowell is close to the area where the snow could turn to rain.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Kevin Cadima said the snow will probably turn to sleet, freezing rain or rain in Greater Lowell on Thursday evening, and then change back into snow late at night as the storm subsides.
That changeover should still leave 10 to 14 inches of snow on the ground here, Cadima said.
The changeover to rain will occur earlier and have a bigger impact in areas to the south and east.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning from Thursday at 7 a.m., to Friday at 7 a.m.
Winds of 10 to 20 mph, with gusts of up to 35 mph, are also expected.
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