Winter weather will deliver a powerful one-two punch to Massachusetts and its snow-fatigued residents, as two separate storms dump as much as 21 inches of snow on some areas of the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, the National Weather Service said today.
A snowfall total prediction map released late this afternoon by the weather service showed 18 inches or more falling over the northern half of the state, including 21 inches in north central areas. The amounts taper gradually heading south. The Boston area will get 16 inches, according to the map.
Boston announced this evening that a snow emergency and parking ban will take effect starting Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Most of the southern half of the state will get more than a foot, with only sections of southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape and islands dodging the bullet.
The snow will start in western Massachusetts early Tuesday, then arrive in Eastern Massachusetts by 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. By the afternoon commute, 4 to 8 inches may have accumulated, the forecasters said, warning of dangerous travel conditions.
The snow will taper off Tuesday evening. Then precipitation will resume Wednesday morning. The snow will mix with, and change to, sleet and freezing rain south of the Turnpike. North of the Pike, it could be Wednesday afternoon before snow mixes with sleet and perhaps freezing rain, the forecasters said.
The forecasters warned in a winter storm watch issued for the entire state -- except for the South Coast and the Cape and islands -- that ice could bring down tree limbs and power lines, and the weight of the snow could buckle the roofs of some businesses and homes. In the latest watch and snowfall prediction map, forecasters increased the predicted snowfalls by a couple of inches and predicted it would arrive earlier, in time for the Tuesday morning commute.
Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said Tuesday would be a "sloppy commuter day." He said forecasters are expecting less than 2 inches of snow will fall on the morning commute. In greater Boston, a total of about 6 inches could fall by the end of the evening commute.
He said people should take public transportation, if possible, and give themselves extra time to get to work. "Drive carefully, drive slowly, and everybody will get there on time," he said.
Adam Hurtubise, a spokesman for the state Transportation Department, said the department would marshal its 4,000 pieces of equipment, as well as crews, and materials such as salt and sand.
"We're preparing all of our crews and all of our resources," he said.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino met with his snow team for 90 minutes today at his home in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood, where he is recovering from knee surgery.
"This is relentless," he said. "It just doesn't stop coming. Tuesday and Wednesday more snow. Some meteorologists say more snow on Saturday. It just doesn’t stop coming."
"Another 18 inches on top of what we have is going to create a real strain on Public Works' ability to keep doing the job they’ve been doing. They've done a good job removing snow, but 18 more inches will narrow each street by a foot, foot and half. Will cars be able to get down it?"
"What we are finding is people are abandoning their cars. They are not even trying to park their cars. They don’t care if it sticks out 6 feet in the street. They walk away from it," he said.
The city said it had removed more than 37,000 tons of snow from city streets, or 2,661 truckloads, during the weekend, taking it to six "snow farms" across the city.
High temperatures Tuesday are expected to be 18 to 25 degrees north of the Turnpike and 25 to 32 south of the Turnpike. The mercury is expected to drop Tuesday night to 15 to 20 north of the Turnpike and 20 to 25 south of it. Highs on Wednesday are expected to climb to 25 to 30 north of the Turnpike and 30 to 35 south.
Bay State residents have at least 60.3 reasons to be sick of the snow. After last week's storm, a total of 60.3 inches of snow for the season had been recorded at Logan International Airport, including 38.3 in January alone.
The season total so far is more than the season average of 41.8 and the total last year of 35.7. The record is 102.8 inches, in 1995-1996. January 2011 has been Boston's third-snowiest January and the sixth snowiest month ever, just behind March 1993.
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