Heavy snow began falling Friday morning, blanketing roadways across the region. Crews were out treating the streets early as the storm is expected to drop up to a foot of snow when all is said and done.
The storm will include a changeover to a wintry mix in some areas, with a drop in temperatures that could create icy conditions later in the day. Our First Alert Weather Team is not expecting damaging winds, widespread outages or coastal flooding with this system, but scattered power outages are possible.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday urged people to stay off the roadways if possible to allow crews to clear them. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation was out Thursday evening pre-treating roads and had more than 2,500 pieces of equipment out by Friday morning.
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MassDOT Highway Administrator John Gulliver insisted on "keeping it slow" as much as possible for those who must drive Friday. Although MassDOT pretreated the roads with salt to avoid ice, late season storms can be "tough," Gulliver said, adding that, "this is hitting us right where we expected it to."
Gulliver's greatest concern Friday morning was the rate of the snowfall, which was around one to two inches per hour, along with fall temperatures. Heavy and wet snow will freeze if it gets cold enough, he said, and it's hard for plows to keep the roads drivable when the rate of snow exceeds two inches per hour.
"I can't stress it enough. Take it slow," said Gulliver.
The MBTA was also preparing for dangerous conditions. The MBTA anticipated running subway lines and the commuter rail on regular weekday schedules, though changes are possible as conditions develop. Mattapan line service will be suspended, replaced by bus service. Bus lines may have to run on snow routes. For more information on service changes, visit MBTA.com/winter.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said Friday morning that the biggest issue the MBTA was dealing with was the quick rate of snowfall, which he said could cause delays. Commuters should allow for extra travel time, Poftak said.
“The biggest issue we are dealing is the snow coming down. We are going to have buses slowing down and trains slowing down due to visibility issues," Poftak said. "Folks should leave extra time if you they need to commute in the morning.”
How bad are the roads?
Dozens of car crashes and spinouts have been reported due to slick roads in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
MassDOT issued a 40 mph speed limit restriction on the Massachusetts Turnpike from the New York State border to mile marker 106 in Hopkinton, with tractor trailer, tandem and special permit vehicle restrictions in place.
Massachusetts State Police said a tractor-trailer driver was thrown from his truck during a crash on the Mass Pike westbound in Russell Friday afternoon. The driver was taken to Bay State Medical with non-life-threatening injuries. Drivers should expect partial lane closures and delays in the area while crews make repairs to a guardrail damaged in the crash.
There was a crash with a disabled car on the southbound side of Route 3 in Billerica near Concord Road. There were two crashes on Route 128 -- northbound by Route 3A and another in Reading past Route 28. On the eastbound side of the Mass. Pike near Route 30 there was a jackknife tractor-trailer crash that closed down several lanes. They have since reopened.
One car went off the road on the Expressway and another went off the road by South Hampton Street. There was a crash on Interstate 290 westbound by Interstate 190, another by Church Street and a spinout on Interstate 495 approaching Route 290. There were a couple of crashes south of the city, including on Interstate 95, one on Route 24 by Route 16 and another on Route 140 by Route 79.
A Budweiser truck tipped on its side on the Mass. Pike eastbound in Auburn after exit 90 around 7:30 a.m. A car spun out of control close to Exit 50 on I-495 north in Milford around 7 a.m., resulting in the car swinging into the opposite direction of traffic. There were no injuries, and no severe damage besides damage to the front of the vehicle.
In New Hampshire, a 45 mph speed limit was posted on; Interstate 93 from Salem to Lincoln, the Everett Turnpike from Nashua to Concord, Interstate 293, Interstate 393, Interstate 89 from Concord to New London, Route 101 from Bedford to Raymond, I-95 and the Spaulding Turnpike.
There were crashes reported on I-93 near exit 13 in Concord. No injuries were reported. There was also a spinoff on I-89 northbound in Sutton.
Will the City of Boston declare a snow emergency Friday?
At this point, due to the nature of the storm and the possibility of a wintry mix, there are no plans to declare a snow emergency in Boston. During a snow emergency, the city will ticket and tow your car if you park on a posted snow emergency artery.
Roads were being treated with salt and sand even before the snow started falling around 3:30 a.m. Friday. Officials encouraged people to take the T, rather than drive on the roadways.
School closings in Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Since it's school vacation week in Massachusetts, many schools were already not in session Friday. However, classes were canceled, delayed or switched to online at many colleges and universities, as well as some New Hampshire schools.
Live Storm Coverage
Here's a closer look at what conditions look like across the region on Friday morning:
The snow started coming down in Worcester shortly after 3 a.m. Friday and continued to pick up. About an hour later, there was already a coating on the ground.
Road crews were out plowing and salting the roadways. There is a parking ban in effect downtown, as in most cities across New England.
A light, powdery snow was falling early Friday morning in Fitchburg, where plow crews were keeping up and sweeping the snow off to the side of the roads. A parking ban took effect in Fitchburg at 10 p.m. Thursday and continues through Saturday.
Snow was sticking to the roadways early due to the cold temperatures. The temperature was about 23 degrees in Fitchburg around 4 a.m. Friday. Fitchburg State University was among the colleges and universities that closed Friday due to the weather.
Snow was picking up in Framingham Friday morning and beginning to stick on the road on Route 30, a busy corridor, especially for commuters. Slick road conditions are expected in the area throughout the morning. Many plows were out treating the roadways.
Framingham has implemented a 24-hour snow emergency parking ban, effective at 6 a.m. Friday. The Department of Public Works asked people to make sure they do not park on the street. All non-essential municipal buildings are closed Friday as well.
Plows were out plowing the roads in Leominster, but just as soon as crews could clean it up, more snow would fall. Snow fall totals and snow types vary greatly from town to town. In Leominster, the snow was light and fluffy.
People were out and about in Nashua, New Hampshire, despite the snow. They're expecting anywhere from 8-12 inches.
"It'll be spring soon, that's a good way to look at it," said one New Hampshire resident who is tired of the snow. "It's a mess to get around."