Department of Public Works vehicles head out from a city depot to deal with a February snowstorm.

With the region expecting likely snowfall of 12 to 18 inches, but potentially as much as 20 inches, officials has announced that city offices, libraries and schools would close Tuesday. A School Committee meeting for the unveiling of the next fiscal year’s education budget was moved to Thursday from Tuesday.

The announcement to close schools came at 5:10 p.m. Monday – earlier than with snowstorms in the past. It was only Thursday that School Committee members asked the school department to reevaluate the process for calling snow days “to ensure a timely notification,” saying nearby communities were faster to make the call that allows parents to plan for a possible surprise day with children.

A snow emergency parking ban will go into effect at 7 a.m. Tuesday, meaning vehicles left on streets with “No Parking during a Snow Emergency” signs will be ticketed and towed until the ban is lifted. Residents losing street parking get a free alternative at some garage facilities, with cars already being accepted Monday. A list and map of prohibited streets off-street parking options is on the city’s Snow Center website.

The police offered a unique take on the situation:

Property owners are reminded that ice needs to be removed within six hours from the time it forms, by city law. Snow needs to be removed within 12 hours after it stops falling during the day, and before 1 p.m. if it snowed during the night. (But the punishment is a fine, not time in Cambridge’s jail.)

Power outages can be reported to Eversource at (800) 592-2000.

The cause of the coming storm was a low-pressure system moving northeast across the Ohio Valley and meeting with another low off the Southeast coast, according to the National Weather Service. The result: “A strong nor’easter [developing] near the coast, producing a late-season snowstorm from the central Appalachians to New England, including [for] many of the large cities in the Northeast,” and widespread winter storm warnings of heavy snowfall accumulations from the northern Mid-Atlantic through the entire Northeast.

A Feb. 9-10 storm that looked similar as it was forming wound up dumping 14.1 inches atop the 16.8 inches received over the winter previously.

For that storm, the minimum expected snowfall was 5 inches; for this storm, it’s 7 inches.

Bits of snow fallen here and there since that major storm have given Greater Boston a total 39.2 inches of snow, National Weather Service records show. That compares with 25.4 inches from the previous winter, a result of the second-warmest winter on record (after the winter of 2001-02); the winter of 2014-15 was the “snowpocalypse” that delivered a daunting 110.6 inches.

The public is encouraged to follow updates on the city’s website, on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The city will be using the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call (617) 349-4800 or (617) 349-4700 for information and sign up for parking ban notifications here. The Police Department’s non-emergency line is (617) 349-3300.