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Eastern Mass. prepares for major snowstorm

With up to two feet of snow on tap, Governor Baker said state offices would be closed Monday and urged residents to stay off the roads if possible.
With up to two feet of snow on tap, Governor Baker said state offices would be closed Monday and urged residents to stay off the roads if possible. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker asked Massachusetts residents to stay off the road tomorrow as this winter’s third “major snow event” slams the Bay State.

In a 5 p.m. press conference, Baker asked non-emergency state workers to stay home, and urged other employers to follow suit.

“We ask that all employers who can do so, offer their employees the opportunity to work from home, or at least to stay off the road,” Baker said.

There will not be a statewide travel ban and the MBTA will run, but on an abbreviated schedule, he said. Logan Airport will have limited flights Monday.

Baker said he is more concerned with the accumulation of this snow than Monday’s storm.

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“That would be 80 inches of snow in 14 or 15 days,” Baker said. “At this time our concern is not about the snow that is going to fall. It is about the cumulative impact of this storm coming on the heels of the others.”

Boston is in a snow emergency, with a parking ban on major arteries that began at 4 p.m., Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Sunday afternoon. Ticketing and towing began at 6 p.m.

All Boston Public Schools will be canceled Monday and Tuesday.

By midnight, more than 8 inches of snow was already coating Boston’s Logan Airport, according to the National Weather Service. Fitchburg saw more than 9 inches by 9:30 p.m., and by 10 p.m., Norwell was reporting nearly 10 inches.

Snow totals could grow to 2 feet in the central and northern parts of the state during an extended storm front expected to last until early Tuesday, forecasters said.

Walsh, at a press conference Sunday, called the amount of snow “unprecedented.”

The snow tapered off somewhat through Sunday morning, and increased later this afternoon, according to William Babcock, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton.

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The storm was expected to pick up Sunday evening and continue snowing consistently through Tuesday morning.

Two of the storm phases have passed, said Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the weather service. Looking ahead, another 6 to 8 inches could fall overnight, followed by another 4 to 7 on Monday.

Much of the region could get 18 to 24 inches of snow in the next two days. Essex County is most likely to get the full 2 feet, Babcock said, though southern regions of the state will get a bit of a reprieve. Plymouth could get 6 to 10 inches and the Cape only 1 to 4 inches.

This is on top of the record-breaking snowfall of the past two weeks, which has so far dumped about 4 feet of snow across the state.

Public schools in Brookline, Lynn, Revere, Medford, and Chelsea have canceled classes Monday, as did a number of other private schools.

Driving conditions could be hazardous, and blowing and drifting snow could lead to poor visibility, according to the weather service. A winter storm warning is in place until 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned on Twitter that travel conditions may be difficult from Sunday night into Tuesday morning, both Monday commutes and the Tuesday morning commute.

In Manchester, N.H. Saturday, a school bus driver was going too fast for the storm conditions on Interstate 95. As the driver attempted to slow the bus, he skidded out of his lane, jumped a guardrail, and skidded down the embankment, according to New Hampshire State Police.

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The driver was uninjured and there were no passengers on the bus.

People are asked to stay off the street as much as possible until the storm passes, with only city employees who are emergency operations personnel asked to come into work Monday.

Several communities along with Boston, including Cambridge, Medford, and Somerville, have already declared snow emergencies. Parking bans went into effect throughout the afternoon and early evening Sunday.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation declared a snow emergency and parking ban that began at 6 p.m. Sunday on all of the department’s roadways in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Milton, Chelsea, Revere, Lynn, and Winthrop. A full list of affected roads can be found on the department’s website.

Ticketing will be heavily enforced for cars parked on crosswalks, on main arteries, or blocking roads. The City of Boston Snow Center hosts a list of all prohibited thoroughfares and alterations to trash schedules.

The MBTA on Sunday reported minor to moderate delays in service on buses and trains due to weather conditions. Buses are replacing the Mattapan trolley between the Ashmont and Mattapan stations, as well as replacing Red Line trains between the JFK/UMass and Braintree stations in both directions Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported average delays of about 2 hours for flights arriving at Logan International Airport, due to snow and ice.

Winds will be “steady and sustained” Monday between 20 and 30 miles per hour along the coasts with gusts up to 35 miles per hour, Babcock said.

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Inland areas will be more sheltered, Babcock said. There should be steady wind of 10 to 15 miles per hour and gusts up to 20 miles per hour.

Temperatures will be “chilly,” he said, with highs in the teens inland while the immediate coasts will stay around freezing.

As the storm moves on, it will draw colder air into the coasts, he said.

Wednesday through Thursday, another round of snow is possible, though it is too early to predict exact accumulations, Babcock said.

Friday will be partly cloudy and very cold, with lows around zero before accounting for wind chill.

Embattled Bill Cosby canceled a planned Sunday night show at the Wilbur Theater for what he said were weather concerns. Protests outside the theater are planned to start as scheduled.

The Monday court dates for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Aaron Hernandez have been delayed due to the weather.


Jacqueline Tempera contributed to this report. Jennifer Smith can be reached at jennifer.smith@globe.com