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Cambridge has already seen a fair amount of snow, including the Dec. 18 snowfall seen accumulated outside the Shake Shack coming to Harvard Square. (Photo: Eric Kilby)

Cambridge has already seen a fair amount of snow, including the Dec. 18 snowfall seen accumulated outside the Shake Shack coming to Harvard Square. (Photo: Eric Kilby)

With up to 14 inches of snow expected to start accumulating Thursday morning, the city on Wednesday evening declared a snow emergency parking ban going into effect at noon the next day – making parking prohibited on streets with “No Parking During Snow Emergency” signs. A list and map of prohibited streets is here

The ban is only until 5 p.m. Friday, police said.

There was no news from Cambridge Public Schools throughout Wednesday as to whether school was canceled Thursday, although Somerville schools were canceled Thursday and Friday with the expectation snow would make travel difficult and dangerous. Arlington, Boston and Medford schools were also closed, according to new reports and those cities’ official Twitter accounts, while Cambridge parents and students complained that they were left unsure what to do.

Meteorologists were putting the chance of snow from a winter storm at between 90 and 100 percent. Temperatures were expected to hit as low as 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The National Weather Service in Taunton issued its Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow to go into effect from 4 a.m. Thursday to about 10 a.m. Friday, warning of “heavy snow and dangerously low wind chills and considerable blowing and drifting snow with near blizzard conditions possible at times along the Eastern Massachusetts coast resulting in whiteout conditions.”

City officials ask residents with cars to check signs carefully and move their cars from prohibited streets immediately. Some parking garages will provide free parking for a limited time during a declared snow emergency. For information, visit the Public Works website, which now has a feature on this site will allow you to report unsafe sidewalks.

The city’s Recycling Center,  at 147 Hampshire St., closed Thursday, January 2, due to weather but was expected to be open Saturday from the usual 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Area business had also started reacting to the storm warning, with the Bloc 11 coffee shop in Union Square, Somerville, canceling its evening open mic and Club Passim canceling a show with with The McKassons with Natalie and Brittany Haas. Cambridge’s Area Four restaurant group saying it would be keeping regular hours – so far.

School Committee members Fred Fantini, Patty Nolan and Mervan Osborne were contacted Wednesday to see if they had information about school closings, but none returned messages. Nolan told parents online:

A decision on whether to close Cambridge Public Schools for snow or weather is made by the superintendent, who always confers with the city manager about conditions. The decision is based on whether schools can be opened safely for students and staff. Sometimes Cambridge has been open when other nearby districts are closed – partly since we have a stellar city and school staff which deploy quickly and clear the streets in time for a regular opening of schools. It is a difficult decision for days like today – not a flake has fallen, yet the predictions are that it might be dangerous by tomorrow morning.

As soon as a decision is made, it is announced via the school department website and news outlets. Also, there is an information line for the public schools – (617) 349-6513. When there is a school closing, that number will have a recording. Also, there is a CPS twitter account.

There are many nearby schools which have already announced closing, but until and unless the superintendent decides to close our schools, assume that they are open. I know my kids have been hoping for another day of vacation like most kids but right now they are scheduled to be open tomorrow …

This story was updated Jan. 3, 2014, with the time and date the parking ban ended.