BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency and announced a statewide travel ban effective at midnight in Massachusetts as a blizzard approached.

The state of emergency went into effect Monday afternoon. The powerful storm is expected to drop more than two feet of snow across the state and make roads impassable.

Baker said only essential emergency and medical personnel should be traveling during the storm.

“I can’t stress this part enough,” Baker said. “Please stay off the roads.”

The governor also said the MBTA will suspend service on Tuesday. He said he had pre-positioned 500 members of the National Guard to be quickly deployed if needed.

Baker says power outages are anticipated and that it could take several days for all outages to be restored.

A coastal flood warning has been posted for the early morning hours of Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says it is prepared with 4,000 road crews at the ready, along with 250,000 tons of salt and 420,000 gallons of de-icing liquid.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh said schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and a snow emergency takes effect at 6 p.m. on Monday.

“A storm of this size poses a threat to public safety,” Walsh said. “We’re taking this storm very seriously.”

Driving Ban Exceptions

All drivers are encouraged to remain safe and use their best judgment:

  • Essential emergency response professionals
  • Medical, healthcare and human service workers, including shelter personnel
  • Essential public transit and support workers
  • Public and private personnel supporting public works and utility operations
  • Essential state employees
  • Those traveling for essential medical procedures
  • Vehicles and personnel delivering essential supplies to healthcare facilities
  • Public safety vehicles, sworn and civilian public safety personnel, including those providing services at correctional facilities, and private sector security personnel
  • Public works vehicles and public works personnel, including contract personnel supporting public works operations
  • Public transportation vehicles and public transportation personnel, including contract personnel supporting public transportation operations
  • Government personnel conducting official business
  • Utility company vehicles and personnel, including contract personnel supporting utility response and restoration efforts
  • Personnel directly supporting storm response operations, including but not limited to emergency shelter personnel
  • Healthcare personnel, including home healthcare personnel and personal care assistants
  • Personnel delivering or supporting services at healthcare facilities, including those that provide long term care and mental health care, as well as hospitals
  • Vehicles and personnel providing critical supplies to healthcare facilities, including those that provide long term care and mental health care, as well as hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • News media
  • Private sector snow removal equipment engaged in, or traveling in connection with the removal or clearance of snow and ice from public or private sector facilities
  • Patients traveling for the purpose of receiving urgent critical care, and persons traveling with those patients who are necessary to facilitate that urgent critical care
  • Travel necessary to maintain critical private sector facilities, services and operations, and to deliver or support critical private sector services and supplies in critical infrastructure sectors such as energy, fuel, financial systems, and the provision of critical commodities
  • Travel to support business operations that provide critical services to the public, including gasoline stations, pharmacies, food stores and hardware stores

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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