Another winter storm bears down on New England
Boston — Mother Nature isn’t showing New England any love.
Yet another winter storm was due to arrive in the region for Valentine’s Day, promising snow and heavy winds even as some areas are already staggering under 6 feet of snow or more.
A blizzard warning was in effect for coastal areas from Connecticut to Maine starting Saturday afternoon for the fourth major storm the region has seen in less than a month. The storm is expected to arrive Saturday afternoon and intensify overnight into Sunday, bringing bone-chilling cold behind it.
Wind gusts could howl at 70 mph and north-facing coastal areas could suffer moderate flooding and beach erosion from the “monster storm,” said Bill Simpson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.
“Snow amounts will not be as much as the previous big storms, but still, when you have 8 to 14 inches of snow, wind driven-snow, the cold air and the snow that is already there it’s probably going to be very difficult for a lot of people,” he said.
Officials warned that hurricane-force wind gusts could lead to power outages.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced late Friday it would suspend all rail, bus and ferry service in the Boston area on Sunday, the latest in a series of disruptions for the nation’s oldest public transit network.
Gov. Charlie Baker urged motorists to stay off roads during the storm, but stopped short of an outright travel ban.
The Coast Guard had an airplane flying in the Gulf of Maine Friday broadcasting a warning to mariners about the impending storm, said Lt. Scott McCann.
Back on land, crews worked urgently to remove the massive snow piles that have clogged streets and triggered numerous roof collapses.
Massachusetts called up hundreds of National Guard troops to assist with snow removal, and the Hanscom Air Force base outside Boston became a staging area for heavy equipment pouring in from eight other Northeast states to help in the effort.
Workers from the New York Department of Transportation helped remove snow Friday in Scituate, which got state permission to dump it into the ocean because there was nowhere else to put it. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said two machines capable of melting 135 tons of snow per hour arrived from New York City on Thursday, along with backhoes, dump trucks and front-end loaders from neighboring states.
If the snow wasn’t enough, New Englanders also had bitter cold to look forward to in the coming days, with lows of minus 10 degrees forecast in some parts of the region Sunday night.
With the weather promising to show little love on Valentine’s Day, Baker on Friday proclaimed “Valentine’s Week” in Massachusetts and encouraged people to celebrate the holiday by buying gifts and dining out all next week after the storm.
Business groups said weather-related travel woes have cut into sales by up to 80 percent for some restaurants and retailers leading up to Valentine’s Day, a holiday that usually generates about $500 million in business.