A winter storm warning posted by the National Weather Service was to begin at 10 p.m. and remain in effect for a large swath of southern New England, including in Boston, in Providence, Rhode Island, and in Hartford, Connecticut, until the early morning hours of Tuesday. Light snow began falling in the Boston area earlier in the day, but what forecasters are calling a “long duration” storm is expected to become more intense on Sunday.
By Monday night, 12 to 18 inches of fresh snow could be on the ground in parts of the region, which is still coping with the aftereffects of storms that hit over the last couple of weeks and dumped record-high snowfall totals in some places.
Michelle Currie, a mother of five whose kids have already missed several days of school, posted on her Facebook page a photo of a weather map showing up to 18 inches of snow could fall on her home in Dracut, less than an hour’s drive north of Boston.
“I have to laugh because otherwise I may cry,” she said.
The snow is likely to cause problems for commuters on Monday, though it’s not expected to accumulate as rapidly as in some of the earlier storms, including a record-busting late January blizzard. There also is little risk seen of significant coastal flooding, a problem during last month’s winter blasts.
Boston’s transit system, the nation’s oldest, has been particularly hard hit. The buildup of snow and ice on trolley tracks combined with aging equipment has stalled trains in recent days, delaying and angering commuters. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority general manager Beverly Scott said Saturday that crews were doing everything they could, including deploying massive jet-powered snow blowers, to clear tracks before the next storm.
Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged on Friday that the MBTA was handed an extraordinary situation with old equipment but said the system’s overall performance was unacceptable.
In many New England communities, the obvious problem is where to put the next batch of snow.
In Revere, just outside Boston, schoolteacher Ingrid Samuel said there were “mountains of snow” and the streets “can’t take another hit of snow on top of what’s here.”
“There’s a bunch of snow everywhere, and there’s no more place to put it,” said Samuel, who lost a week of work after the last snowstorm canceled classes. “There are no sidewalks left in Revere. My whole yard is covered with snow. Where will it end?”
David Lombari, public works director for West Warwick, Rhode Island, told the Providence Journal his town was already clogged with snow piles several feet high and school buses were parked in the usual snow storage lot.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do yet,” Lombari said. “It’s tough trying to find a place that meets all the proper (environmental) criteria.”
State snow disposal guidelines require that communities use locations that won’t harm environmental resources and have barriers that prevent contaminants from seeping into groundwater when the snow melts.
Adding injury to insult perhaps, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned that potentially record cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to move into the region later in the week after the storm.