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Boston is under a snow emergency ahead of winter storm

Snow is expected in Southern New England on Tuesday, with Boston expected to get up to 6 inches.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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Predictions for a powerful winter storm to hit southern New England on Tuesday were downgraded late Monday afternoon following a southern shift in the storm’s path that will send the heaviest snow to southeastern Massachusetts, while the Boston area may see up to 6 inches of accumulation, forecasters said.

The revised totals were far below earlier predictions that called for up to a foot of snow in the city and led dozens of school districts, including Boston, to announce closures for Tuesday while the governor asked nonessential state workers to remain home.

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The National Weather Service said a “quick-hitting winter storm” will smack the region, with the heaviest snow falling in the southern half of southern New England, bringing “strong to damaging winds” for the Cape and Islands and likely coastal flooding from Boston down along the South Shore.

Earlier forecasts predicted heavy, wet snow falling from Tuesday morning into the afternoon that could have led to dangerous driving conditions. But as the storm advanced Monday, forecasters with the National Weather Service noted a “remarkably late but notable trend” indicating a southern shift of the storm’s track that will draw the brunt of its power down to Bristol and Plymouth counties, which could still see strong snow bands and up to a foot of accumulation.

Kristie Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that for the last few days it appeared that the northern and southern jetstreams that influence the storm would converge over southern New England and rapidly intensify, but the new data that arrived Monday afternoon told a different story.

“It doesn’t seem like those … are going to line up, with the southern part tracking a bit farther south than we were expecting and northern part lagging a bit slower,” Smith said Monday evening. “We are still expecting to see some heavier snow bands across Southeastern Mass. and Rhode Island.”

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Most of Rhode Island, including Providence, could receive 6 to 8 inches of snow, according to the weather service. Parts of southern New Hampshire, while still under a winter weather advisory, could end up missing out on snow as the storm shifts south, forecasters said.

The weather service issued a winter storm warning for Tuesday in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, while Central and Western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire will be under a winter weather advisory.

Boston has received 9.2 inches of snow this winter, far below the 30.7 inches it would usually see by mid-February, according to the weather service. The last storm to bring significant snow accumulation to Boston was Feb. 25, 2022, when the city received about 8.5 inches.

Before the forecast was revised, Mayor Michelle Wu declared a snow emergency for Boston that began Monday at 10 p.m. and said city schools would close.

“Our goal is to make sure that we can get out there as quickly as possible, be as efficient as possible and clearing off the snow so that we’re back and ready to go Wednesday morning,” Wu said.

Dozens of school districts across the state joined Boston in canceling Tuesday classes ahead of the storm, including Brockton, Brookline, Cambridge, Framingham, Quincy, and Revere.

The storm will also keep voters at home in Milton, where the town was set to hold a key vote Tuesday on a controversial new land-use plan that would open the town to more multifamily housing development. The town’s select board unanimously decided to move the vote to Wednesday.

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The Massachusetts Trial Court said courthouses across the state will be closed as the storm passes through.

A coastal flood warning will be in effect from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday down the Massachusetts coast and along Cape Cod. Forecasters said many coastal roads will be impassible around high tide, with flooding of 1 to 2 feet likely in areas including Revere, Winthrop, and down through Boston to the South Shore and Cape Cod.

A high wind warning will also take effect Tuesday morning and continue until 10 p.m. around the Cape and islands, where wind gusts could climb to 60 miles per hour and potentially bring down trees and power lines, according to the weather service.

Before the forecast was downgraded, Governor Maura Healey, MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng, and the state’s highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver said crews would be out in force to clear and treat roads and highways.

Eng said the Mattapan Trolley will be shut down Tuesday and replaced with bus service. Other MBTA services will run on a normal weekday service schedule, but riders should check online for updates about disruptions to service, Healey said.

Healey and Eng urged people to work from home if they can and stay off the roads. Healey directed that “all non-essential employees of” the executive branch not report to work on Tuesday.

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“This means, unfortunately, that many in-person services will be closed,” Healey said. “So please check if you have plans or an appointment. We ask that you avoid traveling tomorrow during the storm if possible.”

Healey urged those who do venture out on the roads to give space to plows and work vehicles.

Wu said Boston’s snow emergency will mean parking bans on posted roadways and major arteries to make room for snowplows and emergency vehicles.

Emergency shelters will be open during the storm. Wu said the city’s public health commission is working with shelters to ensure “everyone has access to warm shelter, food and resources.”

The city has stockpiled 40,000 pounds of salt and can deploy 800 pieces of snowplowing equipment between city plows and private contractors, said Boston Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge.

“The little break we’ve had in winter weather has given us time to make sure that we are fully restocked and all of our equipment is ready to go,” Hodge said.

The threat of heavy snowfall had some residents out shopping for supplies and gear around Boston on Monday, just as projections were being revised.

At Ace Hardware in Jamaica Plain, David Doyle, 60, had a familiar request.

“I just need a shovel,” said Doyle, the owner of Tres Gatos restaurant a few blocks down Centre Street from the hardware store. When snow is in the forecast, Doyle said he cuts the official snowfall estimates in half. He said he will try to get some of his younger employees to help out with shoveling.

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“But magically, no one else likes to shovel,” he said.

Down the block at City Feed and Supply, a natural foods store, Jenny and Chris Rohn were calmly browsing the produce shelves. The couple laughed when asked about storm preparation, saying they only ventured out to buy limes for the drinks they plan to enjoy while riding out the storm.

“I was kind of like ‘Ehh, is it really going to be a big storm’”? Chris Rohn said.

“We have enough food in the house for a couple days if something crazy happens,” Jenny Rohn added.

The couple said they view the storm day as another excuse to stay cozy at home, similar to the pandemic.

“I think we’re used to it,” she said.

“It’s no big deal anymore,” he added.

Taylor Dolven, Danny McDonald, and Andrew Brinker of the Globe staff and correspondents Ava Berger and Alexa Coultoff contributed to this report.

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Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him @JREbosglobe. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.