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Jan 06

City Manager's Message: Winter Weather Update 1-7-2017

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 4:06 PM by Mary Bunting

With the impending possibility of snow in our area, I am sure everyone is interested in getting the “latest” information about potential impacts and what decisions, if any, we will make to operations’ schedules this weekend and early next week.

 

Here is the latest information we have: 

Based on our most recent National Weather Service conference call, we are now looking at snowfall beginning around 10-11 pm tonight with serious snowfall beginning around 1-2 am Saturday morning. Snow is now predicted to fall through the early evening hours on Saturday. The NWS predicts the most likely snowfall is 9 inches, with a maximum potential up to 15 inches. As a result, the National Weather Service in Wakefield has issued a Blizzard Warning from 10 pm tonight to 10 pm tomorrow. A Blizzard Warning means that the following conditions are occurring or expected within the next 12 to 18 hours:

1) Snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for 3 hours or longer

AND

2)  Sustained winds of 35 mph or greater or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater.
There is no temperature requirement that must be met to achieve blizzard conditions.

 

Snow will be heavy at times with whiteout conditions expected and visibility near zero at times. Temperatures will be in the mid-20s to lower 30s. Winds will be from the north 10 to 20 mph increasing to 20-30mph with gusts of 35- 45mph. Snow is expected to begin by midnight tonight heavy at times and gusty north winds expected late tonight into Saturday afternoon before ending Saturday evening.


Dangerous travel expected due to snow covered roads and significantly reduced visibilities. Some roadways may become impassible. 

The question of the day, of course, is "Will the City close?" next week. The answer is the City typically does not close. Our residents count on us to be here for them and, excepting very extreme and rare circumstances, we simply do not close. We will, however, shut down certain facilities such as libraries, parks and community centers this weekend to ensure that residents and employees of those units are not traveling in the worst of the conditions outlined above. Additionally,  because we care about the safety and peace of mind of our employees, we will institute our liberal leave policy on Monday.  As a reminder, liberal leave would be available for those employees not designated as critical/essential for emergency condition operations.  Anyone wishing to exercise the liberal leave option must coordinate with his or her supervisor and/or department head. As always, you can confirm status of operations (whether we have liberal leave, delayed openings, etc.) on Monday or other days next week via your department and/or 311. We will also make appropriate alerts to the media.

Please know that our Public Works staff has pre-treated roads as best as possible and they will continue to do all they can to keep us safe. Our priorities must be the arterial/main roads. Residential roads are always more challenging. Please exercise great caution when traveling any roads during the event. Often drivers think they can go faster than they should in these conditions. We certainly want all employees and residents to be safe in these winter conditions.

Thanks again to all our emergency personnel for their efforts during this, and other such, events.

Take care, stay warm and be safe!

Mary

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