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Forecasters warn of snow and freezing rain

MCAS writing test postponed as storm looms

With spring only days away, weary Massachusetts residents faced ­another winter storm, with forecasters predicting snow accum­ulations of up to 10 inches within Interstate 495 and more than a foot in Central Massachusetts.

Light snowfall had begun in some parts of Massachusetts by 9:30 p.m. Monday and was expected to continue overnight, with the heaviest snow falling between 1 and 7 a.m. on Tuesday, meteorologist Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, of the National Weather Service in Taunton, said.

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Vallier-Talbot said the ring between I-495 and Route 128 could see an inch of snow per hour during that span, with slightly less falling near the coast.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino decided Monday night to cancel school for Tuesday because of a concern that roads would be icy during rush hour. In a statement, Menino said public works crews were ready with 396 pieces of equipment on hand, but the storm’s timing would create a “messy morning commute.”

He asked residents to use public transportation and stay off roads when possible. The city had not declared a snow emergency on Monday night.

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Officials canceled school in Belmont, Everett, Framingham, Revere, Worcester, and numerous other communities, and the state postponed MCAS English Language Arts Composition ­exams until Monday, March 25.

City and state officials urged motorists to drive cautiously, allow extra travel time, and expect snowplows during their commutes.

Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said this is the 22d significant snow and ice event statewide this winter, so far costing the department $84 ­million, about $8.5 million more than its snow removal budget and a contingency fund combined.

Transportation will seek assistance from the Legislature, he said.

The state Department of ­Conservation and Recreation issued a parking ban that began at 11 p.m. Monday for Winthrop Shore Drive in ­Winthrop and Revere Beach Boulevard and Ocean Avenue in Revere.

Vallier-Talbot, the meteorologist, said easterly winds of up to 35 miles per hour could buffet coastal areas hit by crushing waves and coastal flooding in two recent storms, causing beach erosion. Because the tidal cycle is currently at a low point, she said, the erosion should be minor.

In Scituate, one of several South Shore communities battered by a storm March 8, Town Manager Patricia Vinchesi said officials were monitoring the weather, but did not anticipate heavy impacts locally.

“We’re expecting 4 to 8 inches, and we will react accordingly, but hopefully this will be a snowstorm and nothing else,” Vinchesi said.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
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