With 40,000 tons of rock salt and 700 pieces of equipment on the roads, Boston is ready for the snow storm


BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the city’s preparations for Thursday’s winter storm, which is anticipated to bring nine to 12 inches of snow and strong winds, with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. Snow will be heavy, affecting both morning and evening commutes. Boston’s Emergency Operations Center is running and will be monitoring the storm.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning in effect from Thursday 7:00 a.m. until Thursday 7:00 p.m. A snow emergency and parking ban goes into effect at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday. Boston Public Schools will be closed on Thursday. Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) stand-alone community centers will be open, with school-based sites closed. Libraries will be closed. City Hall will be open, but will be staffed with emergency operations personnel only.

The City of Boston is putting a parking ban in effect at 7:00 a.m. Two hours before a snow emergency goes into effect, free and discounted parking is available for Boston residents in garages and lots throughout city. Locations and pricing are at boston.gov/snow. Residents are encouraged to stay off the roads, and take public transportation if needed. Emergency personnel who need transport, such as doctors and nurses, are encouraged to call 3-1-1 to be connected.

Mayor Walsh

“As always, safety is our number one priority. We are encouraging residents to stay off the roads, assist the elderly and disabled, and be sure to use caution during the cold weather,” said Mayor Walsh. “Please remember to abide by safety guidelines, call 3-1-1 with any questions, and be safe.”

Boston Public Works has 40,000 tons of rock salt ready to be distributed, and will have 700 pieces of equipment on the roads tomorrow. The city’s main focus will be on clearing sidewalks, main arteries, roadways and responding to public requests for plowing and salting. Boston Police and EMS will have an increased presence and will be ready to assist people in every neighborhood.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications through AlertBoston and utilize the 311 call center for non-emergency related issues. 311 is operational 24 hours a day, and will have extra staff tomorrow to respond to calls. To find out more information about resources and services available to residents, please visit boston.gov/snow.

Safety Tips

  • Shoveling snow requires significant exertion; please be cautious and pay attention to symptoms. Stop if you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, light headed, nauseous/vomiting. Call 911 if those symptoms do not resolve quickly when you stop exertion.
  • Snow piles can make navigating intersections dangerous for walkers and drivers; please take extra care when turning corners with snow piles that might limit visibility.
  • Pedestrians should use caution as visibility will be diminished due to blowing and drifting of the snow caused by high winds.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is a concern during winter weather, especially with the use of generators. Residents should be sure to use their home heating systems wisely and safety, and have a working carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. Call 911 immediately if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Sitting in a car while idling can be deadly if the tailpipe is blocked. Do not let children sit in an idling car while shoveling. Clear any household exhaust pipes of snow. For example, gas exhaust from heating system or dryer.
  • Remember to clear snow away from all vents around their homes to avoid health risks.
  • Remember to keep catch basins and fire hydrants clear.
  • Please check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled.
  • Have a contractor check the roof to see if snow needs to be removed. If roof snow can be removed from the ground with the use of a snow-rake, do so with caution. Avoid working from ladders and be mindful of slippery surfaces.
  • To help keep pipes from freezing, keep the faucet dripping a little bit, and don’t turn your heaters off.

Rules on Clearing Snow

  • Property owners must clear snow, sleet and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps abutting the property within three hours after the snowfall ends or three hours after sunrise if it snows overnight. Failure to comply will result in a fine issued by Boston Public Works Code Enforcement.
  • Please clear at least a 42-inch-wide path for people using wheelchairs and strollers.
  • Removal of snow, ice from a private property to the street or sidewalk is prohibited and will result in a fine issued by Boston Public Works Code Enforcement.
  • Do not throw snow onto the street.
  • Please look here for information about fines associated with improper removal of snow.

Space Savers

  • 48-hour space saver rule is in effect: residents have 48 hours to use an object to save a parking spot after a snow emergency has ended.
  • After 48 hours, space savers must be removed.
  • Due to a community decision, space savers are not allowed in the South End. Space savers are allowed in every other neighborhood.

Community Centers

Boston Centers for Youth & Families Community stand-alone centers will be open during normal business hours. Please check their schedules here.

Helping the Homeless

  • If you see homeless individuals out  in the cold who appear immobile, disoriented or underdressed for the cold, please call 911.
  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) coordinates a city-wide network of emergency shelters, outreach providers, city agencies and first responders to assist those in need of shelter.
  • Emergency shelters are open 24 hours and will accept any person in need. Men can access shelters through 112 Southampton Street, and women should go to the Woods-Mullen Shelter at 794 Massachusetts Ave. BPHC and the city are working closely with shelter providers to ensure that no client is without shelter, food, resources, and a warm respite from the cold.
  • During extreme cold weather, street outreach teams will continue to provide support to homeless individuals in need.

Residents are encouraged to sign-up for AlertBoston to receive emergency alerts and to call 311, download the BOS:311 app, or Tweet at @BOS311 with questions or concerns. Follow @CityofBoston and boston.gov/snow for the latest updates.