The Snow Is Here

Here it comes, folks.

School is cancelled around the state and government employees have the day off today as a powerful snow storm rolled into Boston on Tuesday.

Snow totals are expected to be a bit less intense than forecasters once thought, but we could see 8-12 inches in the city. Elsewhere in the state snow totals could approach two feet, according to the National Weather Service.

The first flakes fell this morning, and the storm appeared to be gaining strength around 10 a.m.

The NWS predicts that the bulk of the snow will come between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m, and has warned snow could end up falling at a rate of 2-4 inches per hour and winds could gust past 50 miles per hour.

A snow emergency has been declared in Boston, and a parking ban took effect at 7 a.m.

Speed on the Mass Pike has been reduced to 40 miles per hour. Gov. Charlie Baker has not called for a travel ban, but, he says, “If people can stay off the roads for the rest of the day, and give the crews the space and the time and the ability to clean up after all of this, that would be terrific.”

On the MBTA, ferry trips have been suspended, the Mattapan trolley route has been replaced with shuttle buses, and the commuter rail is operating with reduced service.

When the snow was a little slow to arrive this morning, Highway Administrator reminded people that “it’s still real,” and had some helpful advice in the form of a metaphor:

It feels a little bit like you invited all your friends over for a party, and then you’re kind of hanging around and saying, ‘Where are they?’ Well, rest assured your friends are coming. We’ve had multiple calls with National Weather Service, and the most recent one at 6 a.m. this morning and when this storm picks up, which we’re starting to see in Worcester now and will be heading this way, we’re still talking snow volumes anywhere from two to four inches an hour.

So when we compare this to the winter of 2015 for example, you’d see a lot of snow over a prolonged period of time. This is going to dump a whole bunch of snow in a very short period of time. So when those snow volumes pick up, roads will become hazardous for travel. So if you’re looking out your window now and saying ‘Gee, maybe I can run into the office, maybe I can run those last-minute errands, I didn’t get the chance to pick up enough groceries last night’ – probably not a wise decision because once you get to where you need to be the conditions can change, change fast, and change drastically and you may end up being stuck where you are.

Meanwhile, until the storm fully arrives, officials are watching and waiting.