Bullseye! Another nor’easter zeroes in

Mar 13, 2018 by

THE FIGHT continued this morning to keep streets clear as a DPW plow with sander works in the Square. The snow is not expected to stop until Wednesday around 8 a.m. (Keith Curtis Photo)

Published in the March 13, 2018 edition.

WAKEFIELD — With winds set to gust to 50 miles an hour and snow expected to fall as quickly as three inches an hour, a third nor’easter in less than two weeks slammed into the region early this morning.

The heaviest snowfall and strongest winds were expected between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. today. Snow is not expected to let up until about 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Just about everything in Wakefield, including its schools, was closed today.

According to DPW Director Richard Stinson, town crews and private contractors began plowing around 5:45 a.m. In all, Wakefield has about 70 pieces of equipment fighting this current winter storm.

Some tree limbs were reportedly down around town, and Stinson said that rather than take men off of plowing operations, a private tree company was hired to help deal with downed trees and limbs.

This storm is not expected to cause as much damage as the one that struck last Wednesday and Thursday because the temperatures will be colder and the snow lighter.

Snow began sticking to the ground about 5 this morning and will probably measure about 15 inches when all is said and done.

Residents are urged to shovel out hydrants, clear catch basins, stay away from any downed wires and keep their cars off the road.

Stinson, looking on the bright side, told residents to hang in there. “Winter,” he said, “is almost over.”

The DPW was still cleaning up from last week’s nor’easter early last night. Stinson said town crews did some tree work Saturday. Sunday, Stinson and Forestry and Parks Supervisor Dennis Fazio drove around town taking inventory of what else had to be done. Yesterday, seven town crews and a contracted one performed more clearing of trees and brush up until about 6:30 last night.

Then roads were pretreated getting ready for what was ahead for today.

While the schedule remained tentative around 8:30 this morning, Stinson said the DPW was looking at Thursday night to do major snow removal in the Square and other town business districts.

The National Weather Service was right on target when issuing a blizzard warning for much of the Massachusetts coast, a winter storm warning for most of New England and a winter weather advisory for portions of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“Three nor’easters in less than 2 weeks isn’t easy on anyone — and we are extremely grateful for the hard work of our first responders, utility and road crews, and municipal officials who have been working nonstop to clean up after these powerful storms,” Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wrote on Twitter Monday night.

The storm is expected to last through most of the day Tuesday, disrupting road and air travel.

The flight-tracking site FlightAware already is reporting more than 1,300 canceled flights within, into or out of the U.S. on Tuesday. Amtrak suspended service from Boston to New York’s Penn Station until 11 a.m.

While the first two storms of the month brought coastal flooding and hundreds of thousands of power outages, this one is expected to be different.

“This one’s main impact is going to be snow,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Taunton, Massachusetts.

More power outages are possible, but they are not expected to be as widespread as last week. Only minor coastal flooding is predicted.

The blizzard warning means sustained winds of greater than 35 mph (56 kph), along with visibility of less than a quarter mile for prolonged periods, according to the weather service. Wind gusts as high as 65 mph (104 kph) are forecast in coastal areas.

Boston and eastern Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island, could get a foot and a half of snow, with less to the west of the city.

Schools across the region announced they would be closed on Tuesday including in Boston and Providence.

“I feel that we haven’t really seen this type of storm since 2015,” Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a Monday night news conference. “We’ve had storms in ‘16 and ‘17 and a couple this year, but it seems like this one is gonna be a big one.”

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