Another big storm bears down on New England, may last days
BOSTON (AP) Winter-weary New England braced Sunday for another round of snow threatening to bear down on the region into the workweek and pile up to 2 feet in some areas.
As light snow fell by the afternoon, drivers were warned to stay off the roads and cancellations were posted for schools and court dockets Monday.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for central New York, the western Catskills and much of New England through early Tuesday.
"I'm frustrated. The last thing I want to be talking about is another 24 inches of snow. I want to move on to something else," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at City Hall. "It's unprecedented ... Maybe up in Alaska or Buffalo, they have this amount of snow and they're used to it."
Walsh said the city would close schools Tuesday as well, and he urged motorists to stay off the roads until the storm passes. Court closings Monday meant another weather-related delay in jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing trial and in the murder trial in Fall River of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez.
The snow is likely to cause problems for workweek commuters, though it wasn't expected to accumulate as rapidly as in earlier snowstorms, including a record-busting late January blizzard. It also posed little risk of the coastal flooding that last month's winter blasts brought.
And while the snow is welcome at New England ski resorts, it's a headache for some businesses.
"I normally have 15 to 20 dogs for day care but that's down to half a dozen; people can't get here," said Bruce Billings, owner of Canine College and Bow Wow Resort, a dog training, day care and boarding center in Holbrook, Massachusetts, 10 miles south of Boston.
Billings said he's trying to clear outdoor play areas with a snow blower because only the biggest dogs can frolic through snow that's 2 to 3 feet deep.
"I love snow. I just hate having to clear it," Billings said.
Boston's transit system, the nation's oldest, has been particularly hard hit this winter. The buildup of snow and ice on trolley tracks combined with aging equipment has stalled trains, delaying and angering commuters. Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged last week the MBTA was handed an extraordinary situation with old equipment but said the system's overall performance was unacceptable.
This weekend, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said crews were doing everything they could, including deploying massive jet-powered snow blowers, to clear tracks before this next storm.
In many New England communities, the obvious problem is where to put the new snowfall.
David Lombari, public works director for West Warwick, Rhode Island, said his town was already clogged with piles of snow several feet high and school buses were parked in the usual snow storage lot.
"I don't know what we're going to do yet," Lombari said. "It's tough trying to find a place that meets all the proper (environmental) criteria."
State snow disposal guidelines require that communities use locations that won't harm environmental resources and have barriers that prevent contaminants from seeping into groundwater when the snow melts.
Adding insult to injury, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned that potentially record cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to move into the region later in the week.
But not everyone was dreading the next blast of winter.
Business was brisk at Charles Street Supply hardware in Boston, where owner Jack Gurnon sells shovels, salt and sleds. He drove to Portland, Maine, to stock up so he'd be able to meet demand when the storm hits full force.
"We actually have a lot of supply right now, and we're lucky because the big box stores, they're scrambling around, and I'm sitting on a whole bunch right now," Gurnon said.
But an increase in sales isn't all he is looking forward to. "I also love to ski, so as soon as this next mess is over with, I'm taking off and going north," he said.
Associated Press radio correspondent Julie Walker in New York City and AP writer Mary Esch in Albany contributed to this report.