Metro, Boston

City Deals With Second Major Snowfall of the Season

Boston is currently recovering from its second major snowstorm of the season, marked with frigid temperatures and a bitter cold that had the potential to shut the city down. Winter Storm Janus began midmorning Tuesday, stretching from Kentucky to New England, hitting hardest along the interstate between Philadelphia and Boston. The National Weather Service declared a Winter Warning for the city of Boston from 1 p.m. Tuesday through 1p.m. Wednesday. As reported by the National Weather Service on Wednesday morning, the highest snowfall rates were found in southeastern Massachusetts: Norwell received 18.3 inches, Hanover, 18.0, and Duxbury, 17.0. Philadelphia received 14 inches of snow. New York reported similar numbers.

While the city of Boston was spared from the worst, Mayor Walsh preemptively closed Boston Public Schools for Wednesday and placed a parking ban on the city beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday night. “Twelve days into my administration I did not want to be having a press conference about snow, but here we are,” Walsh told journalists in the lobby outside his office in City Hall on Tuesday. The parking ban was lifted at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Governor Deval Patrick was scheduled to deliver his final State of the Commonwealth address from City Hall on Tuesday evening. Due to the severity of Tuesday night’s weather conditions, however, Patrick postponed the address and sent state employees home early, urging private employers to do the same. “I’m worried about folks being on the road,” Patrick said to The Boston Globe. “It’s probably not a good idea to have people ski or snowshoe to the State of the Commonwealth.” Patrick has declared that the address will be next Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

Other cancellations included a meeting of the State House to vote on a transportation bond bill, as well as a presentation by MGM Springfield to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. Both events have been rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday mornings, respectively. The governor was constitutionally required to file his state budget with the House clerk on Wednesday morning, which he did without delay.

Up to 10 to 14 inches were forecasted for parts of Boston and its surrounding areas, yet the city only received 4.2 inches from Janus’ snowfall. The season total has now reached 33.4 inches, which is 14.1 inches above average. This time last year, the city had received only 7.4 inches total.

The high amount of powder has taken a toll on the Transportation Department’s finances: the agency reported spending $38 million on snow removal thus far, which nears their allotted budget for the entire season. The transportation department reportedly had 4,000 pieces of equipment working to clear the streets the past 48 hours. Flight schedules at Logan Airport have also taken a hit-one third of all flights were cancelled on Tuesday, as well as a quarter of Wednesday flights.

Due to the manageable amount of snow, many universities delayed opening or cancelled Wednesday’s morning classes instead of shutting down for the day. Boston University, Harvard University, and Boston College all opened Wednesday at 11 a.m. Northeastern University cancelled all classes after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and reopened at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

January 22, 2014

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