Blizzard Preparations Underway in Valley Communities

Merrimack Valley communities are in preparedness mode for a major winter storm beginning Monday night–forecast to bring blizzard conditions and as much as two feet of snowfall.

WHAV meterologist Steve Lavoie said a blizzard warning is in effect.

“During the overnight hours, we’ll have snow which will be heavy at times. It will be very windy with a high between 15 and 20. Blizzard conditions are possible on Tuesday with a high between 20 and 25. Total snowfall accumulations will be between one and two feet,” he said.

In Haverhill, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said on Facebook stepped-up enforcement of winter parking rules began Sunday night, and the city will begin towing vehicles not following this month’s odd side street parking.

“If blizzard proves as bad as predicted, we may be forced to declare an enhanced snow emergency Monday or Tuesday night and ban all on street parking. We recognize the hardship this will cause. We will open school yards and other areas in inner city neighborhoods. Please plan early and seek alternative places to park,” Fiorentini said. He also notes the city will also be more aggressively enforcing the rule against plowing, shoveling or snow blowing snow into the streets.

In Methuen, a winter parking ban is in effect. Additional information is available through a parking ban information line at (978) 983-8643. Also, due to the winter storm, Methuen City Hall will be closed Tuesday.

In the town of Andover, a parking ban takes effect at 10 p.m., Monday. According to Andover Police, the ban will be in effect until further notice.

In Plaistow, N.H., the trash pick-up schedule beginning Tuesday will be delayed one day due to the storm.

In the town of Sandown, N.H., Snow removal operations will prioritize clearing higher volume roads.

Governor Charles D. Baker has directed that non-emergency state employees working in Executive Branch agencies should not report to their workplace on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 due to weather conditions. State offices are scheduled to be open on Wednesday, Jan. 28.  Employees should continue to check or call 211 for additional updates and cold weather safety tips.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts State Police remind motorists of several basic strategies to stay safe in snowy weather.

  • Stay Informed: Anytime there is a possibility of power outages, make sure your devices are fully charged.
  • Take Note of the Local Forecast: The State Police encourage motorists to take note of local forecasts and plan accordingly for adverse weather conditions.  Motorists are reminded that they can dial 511 on their cell phones for current traffic and road conditions on Massachusetts Highways.
  • Vehicle Preparation:  Motorists should check the fluid levels of their vehicles, particularly washer fluid and anti-freeze, to make sure that they are at adequate levels.  Motorists should equip their vehicles with a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight and some warm clothing and blankets.  Additionally, motorists are reminded to completely clear their vehicles of snow and ice prior to driving, including all lights, for visibility. . Motorists should also carry a charged cellular phone.
  • Reduce Speed:  Anticipate delays.  Most snow- and ice-related crashes are caused by spin-outs and vehicles sliding off the road because they are traveling at speeds too great for the road and weather conditions.
  • Leave Extra Space Between Vehicles: Under optimal driving conditions, motorists should leave at least one car length for every ten miles per hour between them and the vehicle in front of them.  If the road and weather conditions are adverse, that distance should be significantly increased in order to afford for increased stopping distances.
  • Black Ice:  Bridges are usually the first surfaces to freeze. Drive slowly and, if possible, avoid driving on iced-over surfaces.
  • Buckle Up:  Ensuring everyone in your vehicle is properly restrained is the single most effective thing that motorists can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the roads.
  • Dial 911 in Roadway Emergencies:  In any weather conditions, motorists who become disabled or encounter an emergency on the roadways should dial 911 on their cellular phones to immediately be connected to a State Police Communications Center. Motorists should always be aware of their location, noting the route they are traveling on and the number of the exit they most recently passed.

Latest storm update are heard on Wave Weather every 30 minutes on WHAV.

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