Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Heavy rain turning into freezing snow hit New England Saturday evening during the region's first nor'easter of the winter season.
Federal weather forecasters said gusty winds between 40-50 mph and precipitation over Cape Cod could bring up to a foot of snow in middle Massachusetts and up to 18 inches of snow elsewhere in New England through Monday, the National Weather Service said.
"The combination of heavy snowfall rates and strong wind will lead to treacherous travel conditions, whiteout visibilities, and the potential for tree damage/power outage," the agency said Saturday.
The NWS issued Winter Storm Warnings up across most of New England. In addition to the rain and snow, strong winds will cause high surf, coastal flooding, and beach erosion along the New England coast, winding down by Sunday evening, the agency said.
Additional snow was expected in Hartford County, Conn., and western Massachusetts causing icy roads and hazardous driving conditions. A winter storm warning and flood watch was issued for coastal Maine.
"We urge citizens to travel only if necessary during the worst of the storm," Maine Emergency Management Agency director Pete Rogers told NBC News. "With temperatures hovering around freezing, road conditions are expected to be extremely slick."
From central southern New Hampshire to northern Maine, as well as parts of New Brunswick and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, an all-out blizzard is anticipated with the worst conditions from late Saturday to Saturday night, the NWS said.
About 25,000 power customers lost electricity Saturday in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but power was restored to all but about 3,000 by Saturday evening, according to National Grid.