Sunday, February 8, 2015

Update from City Manager Augustus

We've just received the following from City Manager Augustus via Superintendent Boone:

Worcester Prepares for another Winter Storm
City has received more than five feet of snow in past two weeks

WORCESTER – Following two weeks of historic snowfall, another major winter storm is bearing down on Worcester and the city is reminding residents of the ongoing winter parking ban and urging caution during both of Monday's commutes. 
The National Weather Service is forecasting a prolonged winter storm, the first band of which has already dropped several inches of snow on Worcester. By the end of the storm, expected sometime Tuesday, Worcester can expect about 19 inches of snow.
Forecasters are not predicting high winds, and power outages are not expected to be a major concern in and around Worcester.
City Manager Edward Augustus, Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Melinda Boone and key staff members from the city's Department of Public Works, Emergency Management and the City Manager's Office met by conference call Sunday afternoon to coordinate the city’s response. 
Worcester Public Schools will be closed on Monday. The Durkin Administration Building will be open. The WRTA will be in service. The Worcester Senior Center will be closed to the public. City Hall, the Worcester Public Library and other municipal buildings will remain open.
Trash and recycling will be collected Monday on the usual schedule.
More than five feet of snow has covered Worcester over the past 14 days, presenting an unprecedented challenge for the city's residents and snow removal crews. Worcester's 63.5 inches of snow in the past 14 days is possibly an all-time record for the city, the National Weather Service says.
The Department of Public Works had roughly 335 pieces of equipment out on the roads early Sunday, clearing an initial 2-4 inches of snow. The plowing was complete around noon Sunday, and plow operators were sent home to rest up and get ready for the next round of snowfall. Roughly 35 salt trucks stayed on to treat the city's main lines this afternoon. When the snow starts again Sunday night into Monday, Worcester expects to have about 350 to 375 pieces of equipment on the roads. 
During the height of the storm, the city's focus will be on keeping major routes open for public safety and emergency response vehicles. Commuters should give themselves extra time for both the morning and evening drives.
Teams from the city and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency have been working, as late as this weekend, to remove and haul snow from some of the large snow banks around major routes through the city. But many large piles still exist around the city, and drivers are urged to use caution when pulling out into intersections.
The declared parking ban remains in place. Vehicles are not allowed to park on the city’s major streets, bus routes, or any street downtown. Parking on other streets is restricted to the odd-numbered side, unless otherwise posted. Check the city’s website for details about a particular street. Tow crews were out removing illegally parked cars Sunday morning, and they will again be towing Sunday night to ensure the streets are clear for the plows.
City Manager Augustus has again waived the fee to park at municipal garages, starting at 3 p.m. Sunday into Monday morning. This will allow residents to move their cars off the streets, helping plows clear snow and saving drivers from a lot of shoveling.

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