24/06/2024

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Boston snow emergency declared by Mayor Wu, BPS classes canceled Tues

Boston snow emergency declared by Mayor Wu, BPS classes canceled Tues

The National Weather Service said a “quick-hitting winter storm” will smack the region, with the heaviest snow falling in the southern half of southern New England, bringing “strong to damaging winds” for the Cape and Islands and likely coastal flooding from Boston down along the South Shore.

Earlier forecasts predicted heavy, wet snow falling from Tuesday morning into the afternoon that could have led to dangerous driving conditions. But as the storm advanced Monday, forecasters with the National Weather Service noted a “remarkably late but notable trend” indicating a southern shift of the storm’s track that will draw the brunt of its power down to Bristol and Plymouth counties, which could still see strong snow bands and up to a foot of accumulation.

Kristie Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that for the last few days it appeared that the northern and southern jetstreams that influence the storm would converge over southern New England and rapidly intensify, but the new data that arrived Monday afternoon told a different story.

“It doesn’t seem like those … are going to line up, with the southern part tracking a bit farther south than we were expecting and northern part lagging a bit slower,” Smith said Monday evening. “We are still expecting to see some heavier snow bands across Southeastern Mass. and Rhode Island.”

Most of Rhode Island, including Providence, could receive 6 to 8 inches of snow, according to the weather service. Parts of southern New Hampshire, while still under a winter weather advisory, could end up missing out on snow as the storm shifts south, forecasters said.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for Tuesday in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, while Central and Western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire will be under a winter weather advisory.

Before the forecast was revised, Mayor Michelle Wu declared a snow emergency for Boston that began Monday at 10 p.m. and said city schools would close.

“Our goal is to make sure that we can get out there as quickly as possible, be as efficient as possible and clearing off the snow so that we’re back and ready to go Wednesday morning,” Wu said.

The storm will also keep voters at home in Milton, where the town was set to hold a key vote Tuesday on a controversial new land-use plan that would open the town to more multifamily housing development. The town’s select board unanimously decided to move the vote to Wednesday.

Before the forecast was downgraded, Governor Maura Healey, MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng, and the state’s highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver said crews would be out in force to clear and treat roads and highways.

Eng said the Mattapan Trolley will be shut down Tuesday and replaced with bus service. Other MBTA services will run on a normal weekday service schedule, but riders should check online for updates about disruptions to service, Healey said.

Healey and Eng urged people to work from home if they can and stay off the roads. Healey directed that “all non-essential employees of” the executive branch not report to work on Tuesday.

“This means, unfortunately, that many in-person services will be closed,” Healey said. “So please check if you have plans or an appointment. We ask that you avoid traveling tomorrow during the storm if possible.”

Healey urged those who do venture out on the roads to give space to plows and work vehicles.

Wu said Boston’s snow emergency will mean parking bans on posted roadways and major arteries to make room for snowplows and emergency vehicles.

Emergency shelters will be open during the storm. Wu said the city’s public health commission is working with shelters to ensure “everyone has access to warm shelter, food and resources.”

The city has stockpiled 40,000 pounds of salt and can deploy 800 pieces of snowplowing equipment between city plows and private contractors, said Boston Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge.

“The little break we’ve had in winter weather has given us time to make sure that we are fully restocked and all of our equipment is ready to go,” Hodge said.

The threat of heavy snowfall had some residents out shopping for supplies and gear around Boston on Monday, just as projections were being revised.

At Ace Hardware in Jamaica Plain, David Doyle, 60, had a familiar request.

“I just need a shovel,” said Doyle, the owner of Tres Gatos restaurant a few blocks down Centre Street from the hardware store. When snow is in the forecast, Doyle said he cuts the official snowfall estimates in half. He said he will try to get some of his younger employees to help out with shoveling.

“But magically, no one else likes to shovel,” he said.

Down the block at City Feed and Supply, a natural foods store, Jenny and Chris Rohn were calmly browsing the produce shelves. The couple laughed when asked about storm preparation, saying they only ventured out to buy limes for the drinks they plan to enjoy while riding out the storm.

“I was kind of like ‘Ehh, is it really going to be a big storm’”? Chris Rohn said.

“We have enough food in the house for a couple days if something crazy happens,” Jenny Rohn added.

The couple said they view the storm day as another excuse to stay cozy at home, similar to the pandemic.

“I think we’re used to it,” she said.

“It’s no big deal anymore,” he added.

Taylor Dolven, Danny McDonald, and Andrew Brinker of the Globe staff and correspondents Ava Berger and Alexa Coultoff contributed to this report.

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Nick Stoico can be reached at [email protected]. John R. Ellement can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected].