PHOTO BY SCOTT EISEN
Richie Sarro moves a grill in preparations for the heavy snow and high winds.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
With dangerous weather conditions expected during today’s winter storm, many communities are taking precautions.
Current forecasts project 12-18 inches of snow across most of the state, high winds and coastal flooding. Snow is expected to fall at a rate of 2-4 inches per hour, causing whiteout conditions.
A snow emergency has been declared in Revere and a parking ban will start at 6 a.m. today. Revere Public Schools and all city offices will be closed.
Ward 5 city councilor John Powers, who represents many of the city’s waterfront neighborhoods, said flooding typically depends on the tide.
“My understanding is that we’re probably going to have a 13-foot tide (today) and that’s above normal, but hopefully not too much above normal,” Powers said.
A tide gate near the train tracks and a system that involves catch basins for storm water and two pump houses are in place to prevent flooding during large storms like today’s, he said.
“Under normal conditions, the gate opens and closes automatically,” Powers said. “It’s closed now for the storm.”
Rice Avenue residents Nicole Capozzi and Richie Sarro said their home hasn’t been flooded in years. Howling winds, however, are another issue.
“The wind here is very very strong,” said Capozzi. “It’s very loud. During the last storm, I looked out the window and the grill was in the neighbor’s yard.”
To prepare for storms, they move their lawn furniture and grill to an alcove where it’s protected from the wind.
Sarro, who grew up in the Point of Pines neighborhood, said he believes the addition of dune grass helps keep the flood water at bay.
“Years ago, I was here during the 1978 storm,” he said. “I remember my mom was putting on her makeup. I looked out the window and there was a wall of water coming down the road. There was a helicopter on the roof asking ‘are you people alright?’ and I remember holding the dog. But we haven’t had anything like that in a long time.”
Cheryl Rebholz, a Rice Avenue resident, said she hasn’t had water in her basement for a few years, but still errs on the side of caution.
“We checked the pump in our basement yesterday,” Rebholz said. “All we can do is hope for the best.”
A list of emergency arteries can be found on the Revere Police Department’s website. Cars parked on the emergency roads will be towed. The MBTA Wonderland Garage will be available to residents who don’t have off-street parking for a $5 rate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In a statement, The Revere Department of Public Works, Police Department and Mayor Brian Arrigo’s office asked residents to avoid travel. In addition to high rates of snow, MEMA has advised residents to be aware of the potential for coastal flooding, particularly during high tide at 1:29 p.m.
The city advised residents of the Beachmont, Point of Pines and Oak Island neighborhoods to be cautious.
A parking ban in Lynn began at midnight and all Lynn Public Schools are closed today, according to the city’s website.
All cars are required to be removed from the city’s streets and sidewalks until the ban is lifted. Residents without off-street parking can use the school’s parking lots starting at 5 p.m. on Monday.
Parking is also available at the Ellis Street Municipal lot on the School Street side and at the MBTA parking garage at Broad and Market Streets.
Trash and recycling will not be collected today. Collection will run on a one-day delay for the remainder of the week.
An emergency parking ban went into effect in Peabody at 3 a.m. today. During a snow emergency, blue lights on the city’s traffic poles will flash, indicating that parking on the streets is prohibited.
For residents who do not have off-street parking, alternative parking options may be available. For more information, contact 978-538-6312.
Peabody Public Schools, City Hall and other municipal offices are closed today.
Saugus Public Schools are also closed.
Saugus will have a parking ban, effective today at 6 a.m., until 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Motor vehicles must be moved from streets in order for the town to have roadways cleared, plowed, salted and sanded for public safety and emergency vehicle access. Any vehicles remaining on the streets may be ticketed and towed, according to Town Manager Scott Crabtree.
Parking is available in the Saugus High School lot, located at 1 Pearce Memorial Drive. The upper lot on the left has been designated as parking space for emergency overflow parking.
Crabtree said he’s urging residents to be safe and to check on family members and neighbors during the storm.
Trash and recycling collection will be delayed by one day from Wednesday through Saturday, March 18. Residents can contact solid waste and recycling coordinator Lorna Cerbone at 781-231- 4036 for more information.
Trash pickup is canceled in Marblehead, Peabody, Swampscott and Lynnfield today. In Revere, collection will begin early at 5 a.m. and remain on schedule throughout the week.
The town of Nahant has a winter parking ban that extends from Dec. 21 to March 20. The ban prohibits on-street parking from midnight until 6 a.m. Residents can apply for a parking waiver to be exempt from the ban.
In the event of a snow emergency, all cars must be removed from the street, including those with a parking waiver, or they will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.
The Johnson Elementary School is closed.
A parking ban, beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, will last for 24 hours in Swampscott, according to Department of Public Works director Gino Cresta.
Swampscott Public Schools and Swampscott Town Hall are closed.
School is canceled in Lynnfield. The town will follow its normal winter parking ban, which prohibits cars from being parked on the road from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Keolis Commuter Services, operator of the MBTA Commuter Rail, said Monday that it will be operating at “Blue” level of service today. This means the normal weekday commuter rail schedule will be reduced by one-third and express trains will make local stops. Passengers should expect delays of between 15 and 25 minutes across the system.
“Extremely fast snowfall rates will create dangerous roadway conditions and we urge everyone to be prepared to stay off the roads, take public transit if necessary and work from home if possible,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.