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Latest Snow Storm Could Drop More Than A Foot On NY and New England


In what seems to have become a weekly theme this winter, New York and New England are being slammed by another snowstorm today.

After making its way through the southeastern United States, a winter storm is expected to drop a foot and even up to 18 inches of snow on parts of eastern New York and New England.

“So as we look at the forecast, and the fact that it seems to be coming right during the work day, we are going to ask non-emergency state employees who live or work in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester counties to stay home and off the roads today,”  said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “And if anyone is traveling in counties east of there to just exercise extreme caution.”

Patrick is also encouraging private employers to allow their employees to work from home so highway crews have a chance to clear the roads.

“We have a couple thousand pieces of equipment out on the roads,” Patrick said. “We have been pre-treating since last night on state roads. The crews will be out right through the day trying to keep up with the storm. Of course in the western part of the state there will be periods where snowfall is over two inches per hour which is really hard to keep up with and of course very dangerous conditions.”

Massachusetts state police have reduced the speed limit on Interstate 90 to 40 mph from Exit 15 in Weston to the New York border. Like many states, Massachusetts has blown through its $43 million snow and ice budget for the current fiscal year, already spending $75 million before this most recent storm. Declaring a statewide state of emergency when a storm hit last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had road salt trucked into the state. Cuomo is allowing non-essential state employees to stay home Thursday with supervisor approval and has declared a state of emergency for the Mid-Hudson, New York City and Long Island regions.

“We’ve gone through a number of storms,” Cuomo said. “Each one seems to have its own curveball. The curveball to this storm is the duration as well as the heavy rate of snow.”

Albany International, Bradley International and Worcester Regional airports are open, but flights coming into the region from the southeast are being disrupted. Schools and government offices have closed or will be dismissing earlier than usual. Regional transit authorities are running on reduced schedules or have suspended service. Governor Patrick says it’s not just the snowfall totals that may cause havoc.

“We’re expecting that in central Massachusetts, and the forecast may extend as far as southern Berkshire County, that snow will turn to freezing rain in the mid to late afternoon and then back to snow,” Patrick said. “The hazard with that is with the temperatures, ice can form on the power lines. With wind gusts expected in the Worcester County area anywhere around 30 mph that presents a risk of power outages.”

Utility companies like Western Massachusetts Electric Company, which serves 210,000 customers, have activated emergency response plans. WMECo is placing more than two dozen contracted line and tree crews on standby. Snow is expected to be the heaviest overnight and lighten by Friday morning.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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