Fierce winter storm slams New England, N.Y.

Freezing rain, snow and sleet predicted for New England, N.Y. residents, forecasters say

New England and portions of New York state awoke Monday to a fresh blanket of snow as a storm threatening to bring up to 1 to 2 feet to some areas churned across the Northeast, making for a slippery, tedious commute to start the workweek.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for central New York, the western Catskills and much of New England through early Tuesday.

Some areas of Massachusetts had about a foot of snow before dawn, and the storm was expected to last all day Monday. The weather service reported an unofficial measurement of almost 14 inches in Norwell as of 5 a.m. Monday. Fitchburg, Leominster, Lunenburg and Ashby in north-central Massachusetts were all at 11 inches or more. Logan Airport in Boston had eight inches.

In New York, the snow stretched from Buffalo to the Hudson Valley, one day after 6 inches of snow fell on parts of the upstate region.

Government officials Sunday announced that schools and municipal offices in many communities would be closed and that parking bans would be in effect. As accidents began to accumulate, drivers were warned to stay off the slick roads.

"This storm marks our third major snowstorm we have experienced in nearly two weeks," as parts of Massachusetts have already seen over 60 inches of snowfall, said Gov. Charlie Baker. He said the situation would cause "many challenges" for the state.

The Boston area was expected to receive 1 to 2 feet of snow through Tuesday while Hartford, Conn., and Providence, R.I., could each get up to a foot.

Across a broad swath of upstate New York, the weather service said as much as 9 to 18 inches of snow was expected from the Catskills to the southern Adirondacks by the time the storm moved out early Tuesday.

"I'm frustrated. The last thing I want to be talking about is another 24 inches of snow. I want to move on to something else," Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said at City Hall on Sunday. "It's unprecedented. ... Maybe up in Alaska or Buffalo, they have this amount of snow and they're used to it."

Adding insult to injury, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned that potentially record cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to move into the region later in the week.

Walsh said the city would close schools Tuesday as well. Court closings Monday meant another weather-related delay in jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing trial and in the murder trial in Fall River of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez.

The snowy conditions caused some problems for commuters as the speed limit on the Massachusetts Turnpike was reduced to 40 mph along the entire length of the highway, and in New Hampshire, speeds were reduced to 45 mph on the highways.

Baker said state offices would be closed for non-emergency personnel Monday, and he encouraged businesses to allow employees to work from home or stay home so they wouldn't be on the roads.

The steady run of winter blasts has already sucked up over 70% of New Hampshire's Department of Transportation winter maintenance budget.

The small college town of Henniker, which lost its fleet of plows in a fire Jan. 30, was using plows on loan from the state. DOT spokesman Bill Boynton said the three back-up trucks would probably remain with the town throughout the winter.

Though the snow is welcome at New England ski resorts, it's a headache for some businesses.

"I normally have 15 to 20 dogs for day care but that's down to half a dozen; people can't get here," said Bruce Billings, owner of Canine College and Bow Wow Resort, a dog training, day-care and boarding center in Holbrook, Mass., 10 miles south of Boston.

Billings said he's trying to clear outdoor play areas with a snow blower because only the biggest dogs can frolic through snow that's 2 to 3 feet deep.

Boston's transit system, the nation's oldest, has been particularly hard hit this winter. The buildup of snow and ice on trolley tracks combined with aging equipment has stalled trains, delaying and angering commuters.

Over the weekend, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said crews were doing everything they could, including deploying massive jet-powered snow blowers, to clear tracks before the storm. Baker said Boston's subway lines will operate on an abbreviated schedule Monday. The MBTA said it will try to keep commuter trains on a normal weekday schedule, but delays are likely.

Boston's Logan International Airport will be allowing only a limited amount of flights to arrive and depart Monday, so travelers should check with their airlines, the governor said.

In many New England communities, the obvious problem is where to put the new snowfall.

David Lombari, public works director for West Warwick, R.I., said his town was already clogged with piles of snow several feet high and school buses were parked in the usual snow storage lot.

"I don't know what we're going to do yet," Lombari said. "It's tough trying to find a place that meets all the proper [environmental] criteria."

State snow disposal guidelines require that communities use locations that won't harm environmental resources and have barriers that prevent contaminants from seeping into groundwater when the snow melts.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


4:47 a.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details and background. 

This article was originally published at 4:21 a.m.