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Emergency status lifted in Newton but snow, precautions remain

Posted by boston.com  January 3, 2014 02:17 PM

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Even though roads are clear and the snow emergency for the city of Newton expired at 2 p.m. Jan. 3, officials are encouraging residents to stay inside and be smart as public works employees continue to deal with the aftermath of the first Nor'easter of 2014.

"Don’t be a spectator by going out of your house," Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker of the Newton Police Department said. "If you’re in your house you should continue to stay in it."

There were 16 accidents and 17 vehicles were towed throughout the storm, according to Apotheker. There have been no accidents since midnight. Nine of the accidents required reports.

No trees were damaged by the storm and no power lines have gone down.

"It was a significant amount of snow but it wasn't damaging snow in respect to infrastructure," assistant chief Paul Chagnon of the Newton Fire Department said.

Roads are being salted and will continue to be cleared over the weekend, according to David Turocy, commissioner of the Department of Public Works. A sidewalk clearing ordinance is in effect to protect pedestrians and schoolchildren.

Trash collection was affected by the storm. Due to the combination of the snowstorm and new years holiday delay, if your normal collection day is Thursday, your collection will take place Saturday, Jan. 4. If your normal collection day is Friday, your collection will take place on Monday, Jan. 6.

In addition, for the week of Jan. 6, there will be a one-day delay throughout the city.

There are many precautions citizens can take to ensure safety in the snow.

Apotheker noted that residents who may be out of shape should be careful shoveling to avoid heart attacks, which are common in the winter months. He also urges residents to check on elderly neighbors or shut-ins.

"Always protect yourself with what you wear," Apotheker said. "Wear loose layers of clothing ... Mittens are actually better than gloves in this winter."

Drivers should watch for children playing in the street and coming out from large snow piles and should wipe off their cars to avoid driving hazards.

Residents should be aware of winter situations that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. According to Chagnon, snow that is piled up can block heating vents, leading to a buildup of carbon monoxide. Residents should also be careful when starting their cars in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Open the [garage] door, start the car, and move it out to start it up," Chagnon said.

Residents should also ensure their tailpipes are cleared before starting their cars.

Space heaters should be used correctly. According to Chagnon, people will sometimes use the heaters to dry wet clothes, which can be dangerous.

Frozen pipes are another concern. As temperatures rise, Chagnon expects pipes to crack. However, he said residents should not use torches or open flames to try to thaw their pipes.

"The best option is to call a plumber and have it done professionally," Chagnon said.

Rain is expected from Sunday, Jan. 5 through Monday, Jan. 6 and may become a problem, according to Chagnon. Storm drains may be opened to avoid flooding. Until then, the city will be dealing with snow.

"This is a long-duration event," Turocy said. "We started treating our roads at 2 a.m. yesterday ... It's not just what you see during plowing."

Trash collection schedule for the week of Jan. 6:

Monday Jan. 6 collections postponed until Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Tuesday, Jan. 7 collections postponed until Wednesday, Jan. 8.

Wednesday, Jan. 8 collections postponed until Thursday, Jan. 9.

Thursday, Jan. 9 collections postponed until Friday, Jan. 10.

Friday, Jan. 10 collections postponed until Saturday, Jan. 11.

City contact information for residents:

Emergencies (including downed power lines): dial 911

Non-emergencies: dial 311 or 796-1000

The city also has an app, Newton 311, that can be used to report issues.

Maggie Quick can be reached at margaret.quick@globe.com.

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