BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts emergency officials are warning of a “potentially historic and destructive winter storm” that could bring more than two feet of snow to the region.
The storm is expected to begin Monday night and continue through Wednesday morning. Blizzard conditions are likely to create blowing and drifting snow that will reduce visibility on the roads, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said in a Sunday morning statement.READ MORE: Nor'easter To Bring Heavy Rains, High Winds, Possible Flooding And Power Outages
“The heavy snow and strong winds likely will result in downed tree limbs, trees, and utility poles/wires; widespread power outages are likely with this storm,” the agency said. “Travel may become impossible and life threatening across the state.”
“Right now, they’re talking about feet, not inches,” MEMA spokesman Peter Judge told WBZ NewsRadio 1030. “It’s really important for people to pay very close attention to the media, listen to the weather reports, make sure they’re not caught off guard.”
In Framingham, nearly 80 officials from more than 20 agencies will gather in a conference room called “The Bunker” to plan for the storm.
The Red Cross, National Guard, State Police and the Highway Department will be among those involved in the planning sessions.
“Obviously, power outages are going to be key. Hopefully not but certainly if we have stranded motorists out there, that will be part of it,” Judge told WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith.
Setting up shelters and possible evacuations will also be part of the planning, Judge said.
“(Meteorologists) are talking about potentially an historic storm here with about 2-to-3 feet (of snow) across the state, adding in to the fact for the potential coastal flooding due to the very strong winds associated with this,” Judge said.
“And if it turns out to be a heavy, wet snow which it looks like it may be in southeast Massachusetts, there’s really potential for a lot of trees and a lot of wires coming down, so it’s a whole mixed bag but it looks like it’s going to be a statewide event.”READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement Sunday evening about the measures the city is taking ahead of the potential nor’easter. In a later statement, the mayor announced he’ll be having a press conference at 1 p.m. Monday at Boston City Hall.
“I have been in constant communication with all city departments regarding the blizzard watch that has been issued for the City of Boston beginning Monday evening and continuing through early Wednesday,” he said. “Our city has been through blizzards before and I am confident we are prepared.”
The city’s public works department has 700 hundred pieces of equipment and more than 35,000 tons of salt available for the storm, according to Walsh.
“Snow farms are being readied for anticipated removal operations. Once the storm begins, I ask everyone to be vigilant, stay inside and off the roads or use public transportation when possible, and remember to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled,” Walsh said.
“Anyone who suspects carbon monoxide poisoning should call 911 immediately. I also ask residents to remove snow, slush and ice from sidewalks, curbs and to keep fire hydrants clear.”
Governor Charlie Baker’s office released a statement Sunday, cautioning people to be prepared for the snowstorm.
“…The peak of the storm is expected to occur between midnight Monday and mid-day Tuesday, but snow will continue to fall well into Tuesday night,” Baker said. “Unless forecasts change between now and tomorrow evening, people across Massachusetts should presume that roads on Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday, will be very hard, if not impossible, to navigate, that power outages are a distinct possibility, and that most forms of public transportation may not be available.
“We will keep everyone up to date on the storm and the state’s preparation and response efforts tomorrow and Tuesday and ask that all take the necessary precautions for this significant storm.”
Winds could approach hurricane force on the Cape and Islands, and reach 50 to 60 mph inland, officials said. Barnstable, Nantucket and Dukes counties are under a high wind watch.
East-facing coast lines could see pockets of major flooding, the agency said. Moderate coastal flooding is also expected during early Tuesday morning and late Tuesday afternoon high tides.
The agency said it is working with state partners to coordinate support for coastal evacuations, assistance for stranded drivers, power outages and shelter operations.