This weekend's winter storm may likely reach blizzard conditions, according to the National Weather Service.
NWS upgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Blizzard Watch Wednesday afternoon. The updated status will be in effect from Friday morning until Saturday afternoon and Peabody police are already warning residents to prepare for a likely parking ban for the duration of the blizzard.
"A potential historic winter storm and blizzard is expected to drop 1 to 2 feet of snow across much of the region Friday into Saturday," says the Weather Service.
A map of the total storm snowfall prediction shows 18-24 inches for most of Massachusetts, including the Peabody area.
Light snow is expected Friday morning, starting mainly after 10 a.m., then becoming heavy that night into Saturday morning -- that's when the worst of the storm will be. Snowfall rates of 2-3 inches per hour are possible.
"Travel may become nearly impossible with blowing and drifting snow," according to the Weather Service.
The local forecast for Peabody predicts snow all day on Saturday, winding down in the late afternoon or evening.
Blizzard conditions would include considerable snowfall, sustained winds or frequent gusts more than 35 mph and visibility below a 1/4 mile for at least three hours. There's also the potential for a whiteout.
And as if that wasn't enough, a Coastal Flood Watch was also issued Wednesday night for high tide on Friday night into Saturday afternoon.
Moderate flooding is expected that night in coastal communities with a greater possibility of major flooding during high tide Saturday morning. Flood-prone areas, such as downtown Peabody, are also at risk of some significant flooding at high tide.