New England, parts of New York ready for another big storm
BOSTON (AP) -- Snow is falling yet again on New England and portions of New York state, threatening to bring up to 1 to 2 feet to some areas and making the first commutes of the workweek potentially hazardous.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for central New York, the western Catskills and much of New England through early Tuesday.
Government officials Sunday announced that schools and municipal offices in many communities would be closed and that parking bans would be in effect. As accidents began to accumulate, drivers were warned to stay off the slick roads.
"This storm marks our third major snow storm we have experienced in nearly two weeks," as parts of Massachusetts have already seen over 60 inches of snowfall, said Gov. Charlie Baker. He said it would cause "many challenges" for the state.
The Boston area was expected to receive 1 to 2 feet of snow through Tuesday while Hartford, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island, could each get up to a foot.
In New York, accumulations of 6 to 8 inches were predicted in northern New York, 5 to 10 inches in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, and 4 to 8 inches in western New York. Buffalo was expected to get 2 to 6 inches.
"I'm frustrated. The last thing I want to be talking about is another 24 inches of snow. I want to move on to something else," Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said at City Hall on Sunday. "It's unprecedented. ... Maybe up in Alaska or Buffalo, they have this amount of snow and they're used to it."
Adding insult to injury, 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.
Walsh said the city would close schools Tuesday as well. Court closings Monday meant another weather-related delay in jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing trial and in the murder trial in Fall River of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez.
The snow is likely to cause problems for workweek commuters, though it wasn't expected to accumulate as rapidly as in earlier snowstorms, including a record-busting late January blizzard. It also posed little risk of the coastal flooding that last month's winter blasts brought.
Baker said state offices would be closed for non-emergency personnel Monday and encouraged businesses to allow employees to work from home or stay home so they wouldn't be on the roads.
The steady run of winter blasts has already sucked up over 70 percent of New Hampshire's Department of Transportation winter maintenance budget. And the next round of snow was already promising trouble Sunday.
New Hampshire State Police closed parts of northbound Interstate 93 in Manchester for hours as tow trucks removed a school bus that lost control on slushy roads and rolled down an embankment. The driver was the only person on board.
The small college town of Henniker, which lost its fleet of plows in a fire Jan. 30, was using plows on loan from the state. DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said the three back-up trucks would probably remain with the town throughout the winter.
While the snow is welcome at New England ski resorts, it's a headache for some businesses.
"I normally have 15 to 20 dogs for day care but that's down to half a dozen; people can't get here," said Bruce Billings, owner of Canine College and Bow Wow Resort, a dog training, day care and boarding center in Holbrook, Massachusetts, 10 miles south of Boston.
Billings said he's trying to clear outdoor play areas with a snow blower because only the biggest dogs can frolic through snow that's 2 to 3 feet deep.
Boston's transit system, the nation's oldest, has been particularly hard hit this winter. The buildup of snow and ice on trolley tracks combined with aging equipment has stalled trains, delaying and angering commuters.
Over the weekend, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said crews were doing everything they could, including deploying massive jet-powered snow blowers, to clear tracks before the storm. Baker said Boston's subway lines will operate on an abbreviated schedule Monday. The MBTA said it will try to keep commuter trains on a normal weekday schedule, but delays are likely.
Boston's Logan International Airport will be allowing only a limited amount of flights to arrive and depart Monday so travelers should check with their airlines, the governor said.
In many New England communities, the obvious problem is where to put the new snowfall.
David Lombari, public works director for West Warwick, Rhode Island, said his town was already clogged with piles of snow 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.
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