Quincy officials say the city will be among the hardest hit by the New Year’s blizzard that is expected to bring flooding and up to 14 inches of snow Thursday night into Friday.
“There’s a lot of sections we’ll say some prayers for,” said Quincy City Councilor Margaret Laforest, who represents much of coastal Quincy. “Maybe the storm will turn out. But the DPW has their plans and full crews out, and we’re waiting for it to roll in.”
Though snow already began to fall Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said blizzard conditions aren’t expected to start until Thursday evening. Heavy snow with low temperatures will be accompanied by snow accumulation of 8 to 14 inches.
Weather Service predicts that winds will come from the northeast 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.
The winds could create trouble for the tides, said Christopher Walker, spokesman for Mayor Thomas Koch.
According to the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association, Thursday’s high tide at 11:31 a.m. was expected to be unusually high at 12.24 feet. If the winds prohibit the tide from going out, high tides at 12:10 a.m. Friday morning (10.85 feet) and 12:24 p.m. Friday afternoon (12.2 feet) could prove problematic.
“We’ll be keeping an eye on it,” Walker said. “Those people in the usual trouble spots should be taking the same precautions they always take and be very mindful of the tides. If it does escalate and there are evacuations required, we’ll be ready to do so … but that’s not the game plan at the moment.”
Trouble spots could include the Merrymount neighborhood, Narragansett Road, Chickatabot Road, Manet Avenue, and Brinsley Street, Laforest said.
Walker said tide gates are in full storm mode to accommodate any escalation in the storm. Laforest said the $4.5 million in capital improvement dollars spent in 2013 on coastal infrastructure work should also help mitigate any impact.
The city has simultaneously begun snow removal plans as flakes began to fall Thursday morning.
Parking bans will begin at 4 p.m. on Thursday and continue until further notice. Parking will only be allowed on the odd side of non-emergency residential streets unless otherwise noted with signage.
Walker said the city plans to have 110 pieces of snow removal equipment on the street at full operation. Side streets may see a delay in plowing as city officials try to properly time deployment of snow-removal resources.
“There could be some snow pick up, minor, on some side streets until we call in the cavalry later today,” Walker said. “Once they are out there, they will be going for 24 hours. If we started this morning it would be 36 or 48, and we can’t do that.”
Storm concerns canceled school on Thursday and Friday, with Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro making the announcement early Thursday morning and late Thursday afternoon.
DeCristofaro said he was waiting for the most up-to-date information.
“The most current information that you can have that’s closest to the decision, is the best way to do it,” he said, noting that he wanted to give parents enough notice to make childcare arrangements. “Even then, it’s a difficult decision.”
Numbers to know:
For snow removal assistance, call the DPW's snow operation hotline at 617-376-1927.
National Grid Electric: Power outages can be called in to 1-800-465-1212 or entered through its website. Outages can also be tracked online at the National Grid Storm Center, which shows the power outages, the amount of customers affected, the time reported, and estimated restoration time.
National Grid Gas: To report a gas leak, or other gas emergency, call 1-800-233-5325 (Greater Boston area) or 1-800-548-8000 (all other areas) 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Comcast: 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)
Verizon: 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966)