Sunday, June 16, 2024

Snowfall on Bowdoin Street, Neighborhood 9, at the start of the Dec. 16 storm. (Photo: Marc Levy)

A nor’easter following the mid-Atlantic coast was expected to dump anywhere from 6 inches to a foot of snow on the Cambridge area “later Monday morning,” Accuweather forecasters said Sunday, and the city announced its first snow emergency parking ban of the year to begin at 1 p.m. Monday. (In neighboring Somerville, the snow emergency goes into effect at 8 a.m. Monday, though cars have until noon to be moved to the even side of streets or to city lots.)

For much of the mid-Atlantic, the storm will last from Sunday to Tuesday, but some parts of New England could see the effects through early Wednesday, and though the affected area starts as far away as Ohio, coastal areas may be hardest hit, the weather service said.

“This will allow for snowfall totals to really build up over large areas of the Northeast,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said, though the gradual nature of the accumulation expected in many areas might allow cleanup crews to stay on top of the problem.

There could be powerful winds developing near coasts, with gusts of 30 to 50 mph creating possible blizzard conditions – though mostly this was expected closer to the New York area.

The City Council moved its meeting to Wednesday based on effects expected from the storm, and Cambridge Public Schools said Tuesday would be a fully remote learning day for all students. (On Wednesday, schools are closed for students because of a previously scheduled staff planning day.)

An overnight nor’easter Dec. 16 dropped some 13.4 inches of snow on Cambridge; the couple of snowfalls since have been less significant and didn’t result in parking bans.

When a snow emergency is declared, parking is prohibited on streets marked “No Parking During Snow Emergency.” Police advise people with cars to check signs carefully and move vehicles from prohibited streets immediately. A car found in violation will be ticketed and towed to one of the impound lots in Cambridge or Somerville and will be returned only with a hefty payment — usually $120 for the tow and $35 for every day a car is on the lot. The ticket is paid separately.

A list and map of prohibited streets can be viewed by clicking on the Snow Storm Procedures link of the Traffic Department website at

Parking garages provide free parking during a declared snow emergency, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday:

  • Galleria for residents of East Cambridge.
  • First Street if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until two hours after it is lifted. Enter on Spring Street.
  • One Kendall Square
  • Green Street, Central Square. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time when the declared snow emergency is in effect until two hours after it is lifted.
  • 52 Oxford St. This is Harvard owned and operated but open to residents with a resident parking permit on a space-available basis for no fee from the time the snow emergency is in effect until one hour after. Space is limited, and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. The university reserves the right to cut off admittance due to capacity limitations and operation issues.
  • 65 Waverly St.

Updates: Any updates and information on when the ban will be lifted will be made available once determined via recorded message during non-business hours and live assistance during business hours at the Traffic Department number, 617-349-4700. This information will also be posted online as soon as possible on the City of Cambridge Website and on City TV-8. Sign up to get snow emergency alerts via a text message to your cell phone or to your E-mail by clicking on the E-Line icon on the City’s Website.

Plowing Operations after the Storm
The Department of Public Works will clear streets as soon as possible after a snow storm, starting with major arteries. “Please don’t take it personally if we plow snow back into your driveway, but as we work to make streets passable, it is often unavoidable. Your patience and participation help the City return streets and sidewalks to safe, passable conditions as quickly as possible,” city officials have told residents during past snowfalls.

Keep Sidewalks Clear
City ordinance requires property owners to remove snow from sidewalks next to their property or business within 12 hours of daytime snowfall and before 1 p.m. when it has fallen overnight. They must also remove or melt all ice within six hours of when it forms. There is a $50 fine for each day of noncompliance. If you are away, it is still your responsibility to ensure that someone clears sidewalks next to your property. Remember to:

  • Shovel your sidewalk on all sides of your property, down to bare pavement
  • Make a path at least 3 feet wide
  • Clear ramps at corners and crosswalks
  • Chop or melt all ice
  • Keep street drains clear of snow
  • Consider helping neighbors who may have difficulty clearing their walk.

Disabled or elderly persons who qualify as low-income residents may be eligible for an exemption. Call the Cambridge Council on Aging, 617-349-6220 (voice) or 617-349-6050 (TTY) to learn more.

For information, visit the Department of Public Works (DPW) Website.

This post was updated Feb. 1, 2021, with City Council and school changes as a result of the storm.