They’re bringing in the heavy equipment in Salem and other area communities for what is expected to be a huge snowstorm today.
“We are preparing for the worst,” said Ron Malionek, assistant public works director in Salem.
Up to 2 feet of snow is expected to fall over the course of the major winter storm, named Nemo, according to the National Weather Service.
As of last night, most area schools were canceled for today, and parking bans are in effect across the region. Scattered power outages are anticipated with damage to trees, with wind at 30 to 40 mph and gusts up to 65 mph.
A blizzard warning has been issued for the area starting this morning and lasting until 1 p.m. tomorrow. People are advised to stay indoors and avoid travel. The storm will begin with light snow this morning, becoming heavy later in the day and continuing into the evening commute.
“(The snow) will continue all Friday night through the majority of Saturday morning,” said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “This is going to be a potentially historic winter storm and blizzard.”
Malionek said about 100 pieces of city-owned and contracted equipment are gearing up to help clear the streets. There will be front-end loaders and backhoes ready to help push back the snow, he said.
“When we don’t have snow on the ground, it makes it a little easier on us,” Malionek said. “But it will be a long-duration storm with 1, 2 or 3 inches falling per hour.”
Yesterday, people lined up at local stores to stock up on groceries, snow shovels and other essentials to weather the storm.
At Market Basket in Salem, so many people jammed the store that the Fire Department was summoned to check on overcrowding. A line of people waited outside to get into the store, and there were even longer lines at the registers. At 2:30 yesterday, about 40 people were queued up in aisle 18 waiting for a staffer to direct them to a check-out register.