Thursday, June 20, 2024

Pedestrians brave the streets of Central Square during Cambridge’s previous snowstorm, which dumped nearly 2 feet of snow Jan. 29. (Photo: Tyler Motes)

The city is expecting between 5 and 10 inches of snow starting at about 3 a.m. Friday and continuing throughout the day, Department of Public Works commissioner Owen O’Riordan said Thursday.

“There is some uncertainty about the nature of the precipitation in the afternoon – sleet, freezing rain or snow, but the expectation is that some form of precipitation will continue until late in the evening,” O’Riordan said.

That hardly compares with the 23.8 inches that hit Cambridge over the final weekend of January, a storm lasting for more than 24 hours and at times dumping up to 4 inches of snow an hour, according to weather experts. This storm is expected to bring snowfall at a still “extremely heavy rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour,” AccuWeather chief meteorologist Jon Porter said. “The combination of reduced visibility from the snow and slippery road conditions will make for a dangerous Friday morning commute.”

Even the evening commute could be affected by lingering snow and the colder temperatures that are expected, which will refreeze it, Porter said.

Cambridge did not call for an emergency parking ban, but all municipal buildings, libraries, Department of Human Service programs and Senior Centers will be closed to the public Friday, though city offices will remain open, said Lee Gianetti, the city’s director of communications. Libraries will reopen Saturday.

CIC Health Covid testing at 295 Third St., Kendall Square, will be open for appointments as usual, and curbside trash and recycling collection is on schedule (though one day behind due to the Monday holiday). The Winter Warming Center in the basement of the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, will stay open.

Somerville, by contrast, did declare a snow emergency to go into effect at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, when cars will have four hours – until 11:30 p.m. – to move to the odd-numbered side of the street or to designated city parking lots listed at Parking is not allowed in school lots during snow emergencies, and gates will be locked.

Updates: For Cantabrigians, 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 (617) 349-4700. This information will also be posted online as soon as possible on the City of Cambridge website and on its cable channel City TV-8. Sign up to get snow emergency alerts via a text message to your cell phone or to your email by clicking on the CodeRED box on the City’s Website.

Plowing operations
The Department of Public Works will clear streets as soon as possible after a snowstorm, 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 at (617) 349-6220 – or (617) 349-6050 for TTY – to learn more.

For information, visit the Department of Public Works.