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Winter Storm, Plows, February 8, 2013The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is preparing for a significant winter storm which is scheduled to arrive in some areas of the state overnight tonight and early Monday morning and which will bring blizzard conditions to areas along the South Shore as well as significant snow accumulations to most of eastern and central Massachusetts, making the morning commute tomorrow extremely hazardous in parts of the state. The public is encouraged to stay home if at all possible.

MassDOT expects to work around the clock to keep up with the snow which is expected to fall at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour for most of the day tomorrow. Some parts of the state will see a foot or more of snow and Eastern MA will see high winds throughout the day making roadways difficult to navigate. The National Weather Service predicts sustained winds during the height of the storm in some areas to be 30-40 mph and some gusts reaching up to 70 mph.

The MBTA and commuter rail will be activating the Storm Desk when the storm arrives and are preparing now to mobilize de-icing equipment, snow plowing equipment, and increased staffing. Storm preparations include having some locomotives run in off-schedule times to keep tracks clear or idle overnight in certain locations to ensure the equipment continues to operate properly. Some MBTA equipment will also run overnight.

At this time, based on the current forecast from the National Weather Service, the Commuter Rail system is anticipated to be operating trains on regular schedules on Monday and on Tuesday. MBTA service will run on regular schedules tomorrow, however, Green Line D Branch trains may have minor delays Monday between Chestnut Hill and Reservoir due to signal problems caused by the heavy wet snow which brought down trees on wires and tracks last Friday.

Mass transit riders are urged to monitor news reports and consult MBTA.com for the latest information. In addition. passengers are encouraged to sign up for T-Alerts and to follow updates on Twitter @MBTA_CR and also @MBTA. Additional information is available by contacting Customer Service at 617-222-3200.

Keolis and the MBTA have been working hard since last spring to prepare the commuter rail system for winter. This includes the purchase of new snow-fighting equipment, development of a new snow and severe weather plan, and the appointment of a Snow Manager to coordinate actions across all departments to ensure the continued safe operation of the MBTA Commuter Rail system.

MassDOT is scheduled to activate its Highway Operations Center at 3 am on Monday and during the overnight hours crews will be deployed at 150 MassDOT depots state-wide.

Up to 4,000 pieces of MassDOT and contractor equipment is available to be used for the storm. Before snow begins to accumulate, roads will be pre-treated for the morning commute. MassDOT has a full supply of deicer and salt on hand. The HOV lane for northbound vehicles will be closed Monday morning from Quincy to Boston.

Due to the anticipated severity and length of the storm which is forecasted by the National Weather Service, the public is encouraged not to travel tomorrow unless absolutely necessary.

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