The temperatures in Boston was about 23 degrees mid-morning, but the National Weather Service has Massachusetts under a wind chill advisory for the next 23 hours, with winds up to 25- to 35 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph. Windchill readings are expected to be as low as 24 below zero.
Outside of the city, accumulations of up to 20 inches were being reported in New Bedford, about 59 miles south of Boston, and Salisbury, about 40 miles to the north.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation tweeted that it had 3,366 crews working on the storm. The Logan Airport Web site says it had canceled express services during the morning hours, but planned to resume in the afternoon, weather permitting.
This is the region’s fourth major snowstorm since early January, including an 18-day period that accounted for 72.5 inches of snow, according to Weather.com. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared a parking ban throughout the city starting at 10 p.m. Saturday, and advised residents to stay inside if possible, Bonnie McGilpin, the mayor’s press secretary said. The city deployed 300 pieces of equipment to salt the roads before the storm.
The snow was threatening to bury Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s Valentine’s Day plans. Baker had dubbed the week of Feb. 14-21 “Valentine’s Day Week” in an effort to encourage consumers to go out shopping and to dine at local restaurants after more than 70 inches of snow blanketed the region over the past four weeks. Instead of shopping and dining, residents spent Saturday were preparing for more shoveling.
Massachusetts has received extra equipment to help battle the storm from Maine, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Guyton, the governor’s press secretary, said. Baker also is using 600 National Guard soldiers, who were on state active duty. The soldiers have helped with heavy equipment and snow shoveling operations, as well as rescues and evacuations. The soldiers also have helped the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority clear snow to enable public transportation access leading up to the storm, Guyton said.
Although Walsh has said he won’t rule out dumping some of the accumulated snow into the Boston Harbor at some point this winter, the city still has space in its 10 snow farms across Boston, McGilpin said. Despite all of the snow the city has gotten so far, the farms were only at about 40 percent capacity before the storm.
“Right now we are confident we have enough room,” McGilpin said.
In surrounding communities, such as Cambridge, and Newton, local public works departments are struggling to keep up with all of the snowfall.
“That’s where the challenge is, where do you put it?” David Turocy, commissioner of the Department of Public Works for the Newton, said. “We push it back as far as we can, we do a lot of hauling … and we find a number of different snow farms around the city where we can pile snow.”
Turocy said he’s never seen a winter this bad before.
“I’ve been with Newton for 10 years, and I keep a record of our snowfall,” Turocy said. “Three of the four highest snowfall totals have all been [in] the last two weeks.”
Turocy isn’t the only one who thinks this winter stands out. Meteorologist Mark Rosenthal has been forecasting weather in New England for 42 years. In all that time, Rosenthal said he’s never experienced a winter like this. At the beginning of January, he thought Boston was going to have a mild winter.
“In so many other winters we just get ripped off,” Rosenthal said. “And then the pattern started to change, and boy did we make up for lost time.”
Rosenthal, who still covers the weather on his Web site weatherblast.com, said he expects Boston to get about a foot of powdery snow from Sunday’s storm, but it’s not just accumulations that people have to worry about.
“It’s going to look like a blizzard certainly until about noon,” Rosenthal said. “The other factor is going to be very dangerous afternoon wind chills of 20 to 30 below, and the wind, I think from the north-west at that time is going to be gusting up to 50 miles per hour, maybe even stronger.”
Despite the harsh weather, Katherine Morrison, 21, a senior at Boston University, said she doesn’t think her classes will be canceled next week.
“They have to have class. We’ve already had five snow days,” Morrison said.
In order to make up for some of the lost time, Morrison said BU has scheduled some makeup classes on Saturdays, but her professors have said students aren’t required to go.
“I don’t know why the university did [that],” Morrison said.
The weather also chased some residents out of their homes. Norman Rennler, 54, an IT consultant, lives on the water in Scituate, Mass., but the potential of flooding caused him to leave his home and stay with friends for a few days in Brookline.
“This usually happens once or twice a year,” Rennler said. “It’s happened more this year. In the last three weeks it’s been about 10 days away” from his home.
This post has been updated.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Boston had gotten 3 1/2 inches of snow by mid-morning on Sunday.