Colin A. Young
Non-emergency employees of the executive branch of the state should not report to their workplaces and other employers should be flexible and allow people to work remotely on Friday, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday evening as a blizzard could bring up to a foot of snow over parts of Massachusetts approached.
“Conditions for tomorrow’s morning ride are going to be dangerous. If it is possible for people not to travel on the roads, we ask them to do so. If you are traveling, please allow yourself more time and slow down, and give the road crews enough space to do their jobs,” Baker said at a State House press conference. He added, “This winter and generally this kind of storm is not new to Massachusetts as we have experienced this before. That said, it’s important that we take this one seriously, especially given the very difficult travel conditions it will create tomorrow morning.
The National Weather Service said snow will invade the area between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Friday and become heavy, in the range of 1 to 2 inches per hour, during the Friday morning drive. Friday evening, forecasters expect a “widespread 8-12”. [inches] of snow” north of the Massachusetts Turnpike with patches along the northern state border up to more than a foot. South of the pike, NWS meteorologists expect the storm to turn to sleet and/or rain for some time, which will keep the totals a bit lower. Forecasters also warned that the mixed precipitation would change back to snow Friday afternoon or Friday evening, and that the drop in temperatures would likely cause a sudden freeze “along and southeast of the Boston-Providence corridor”, creating conditions slippery conditions on untreated roads. .
Baker said he didn’t expect the same kind of widespread power outages that have accompanied recent storms, but said his administration is coordinating with utility companies to prepare for that eventuality. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides said “scattered” outages were expected and utility crews were moving around Cape Cod and the islands.
The NWS said “lower than normal temperatures” are on deck for the start of the weekend with a slight warm in store for Sunday, although that day could see some showers. A cold front is expected to move through the region late Sunday with more below normal temperatures for this time of year (mid-30s to low 40s, according to the NWS) beginning next week.