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Winter Storm Crews, Weston Depot, February 12, 2017MassDOT is advising the public that the National Weather Service has updated its forecast, predicting that by mid-day Sunday there will be a mix of heavy snow, freezing rain and strong wind gusts in Western Massachusetts which will arrive in eastern regions, including the Greater Boston area by 5 p.m. Winter storm warnings have been issued beginning at 11 a.m., Sunday, December 1, through 7 a.m., Monday, December 3, for the counties of Franklin, Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, Middlesex and Worcester.  During the storm, snow fall rates will be 1-2 inches per hour in many areas, excluding the South Shore, Cape Cod and the Islands.

“This storm must be taken very seriously by anyone who has to travel on Sunday.  Major highways through Massachusetts are expected to have snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour with gusty winds from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning, said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.  “We are advising anyone who has to travel, to leave as early as possible Sunday morning.  To avoid being out in the storm, motorists traveling on roads north and west of Interstate 495 should plan to be off the roads by 3 p.m. and motorists traveling east and south of Interstate 495 should plan to be off the roads by 5 p.m.”

At this time, there is no travel ban in Massachusetts for any classification of vehicles, however, all drivers and commercial vehicle company owners should check the forecast and pay attention to any weekend announcements on public information channels.  This storm system will impact New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York first and then arrive in many communities in Western Massachusetts by noon Sunday.

MassDOT’s ice and snow operations will be deployed throughout the Commonwealth as conditions necessitate. Highway Districts always conduct preparation activities in advance of new weather systems and pretreat roadways with brine and Magnesium Chloride when necessary. In the most severe storms, MassDOT’s Highway Division utilizes up to 700 personnel to perform snow and ice removal operations on more than 15,000 lane miles of roadway throughout the Commonwealth. This winter, MassDOT will have approximately 3,900 pieces of state and vendor equipment available throughout the duration of winter storms using over 150 depots and storage locations. This includes over 1,400 plow and spreader combos, 2,100 plows, and 460 front-end loaders.

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