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Watertown Storm Center: Blizzard Over, Town Digging Out from 2 Feet of Snow

The heaviest part of the storm has blown through Watertown, but the impact of the Blizzard of 2013 will continue to be felt.

The Blizzard of 2013 crept into Watertown Friday morning, but really kicked up in the late afternoon and early evening. Wind and snow took out power to nearly half the town. 

[NOTE: Follow Watertown efforts to dig out after the Blizzard of 2013 by clicking here.]

[Updated Saturday, 4:06 p.m.] The Boston Bruins have canceled their game tonight against Tampa Bay. Previously they had pushed it back, but it will be pushed back. A make up date has not been announced.

[Updated Saturday, 3:44 p.m.] The main roads look ready for the driving ban to end - and some drivers have jumped the gun and hit the streets already. Side streets in Watertown have snow on them, but not a ton. 

Getting your car out is the challenge. With drifts and snow plowed up from the road the snow is anywhere from 3 to 5 feet deep!

CVS in Watertown Square is open for business, as is the Dunkin' Donuts near the Square. 

[Updated Saturday, 1:24 p.m.] Rain is in the forecast for Monday, prompting worries about heavy snows on roofs, Gov. Patrick said in his press conference from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

He recommends removing snow from roofs with a snow rake or hiring a professional.

[Updated Saturday, 1:04 p.m.] Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the driving ban as of 4 p.m. today, the Boston Globe reports. He already lifted the ban west of Interstate-91 and on Nantucket.

[Updated Saturday, 12:41 p.m.] The National Weather Service has live the Blizzard Warning, so the worst of the storm appears to be behind us. Watertown is beginning to dig out from the Blizzard of 2013, but the roads remain empty. 

Getting around is a challenge. Watertown Taxi said it cannot run cabs until after the driving ban is lifted. 

Folks are looking for places to go. If you have seen open stores and restaurants, let us know in the comment section below.

[Updated Saturday, 11:14 a.m.] Looks like the snow may be close to over. WHDH-TV reports the storm is heading out to sea. The Watertown area has some of the higher reported totals with over 2 feet in Belmont and Waltham, according to National Weather Service spotters.

[Updated Saturday, 9:18 a.m.] The snow will continue to fall through 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, and the Boston area could get another 4 to 8 inches of snow through the day. 

Snow totals reported by spotters on the National Weather Service report 27 inches of snow in Belmont and 25 inches in Waltham at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

[Updated Saturday, 8:55 a.m.] The Arsenal Mall remains closed today due to the storm, Simon Malls officials announced.

[Updated Saturday, 7:45 a.m.] Heavy snow fell overnight and power went out in many areas of town, but as of 7:45 a.m. NStar reports only one customer without power. As much as 48 percent had no power Friday night. A large are of town from Watertown Square to Orchard Street had power restored at about 4 a.m. Saturday.

Getting around with or without a car appears very challenging. The streets look covered with a thick layer of snow, and the MBTA said service is unlikely to be restored until Sunday, according to WHDH-TV.

Measuring the snow proved difficult, but at least a foot has fallen on Watertown so far.

For up-to-the-minute news on this and other stories follow Watertown Patch on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to the free email newsletter.

[Updated Friday, 11:18 p.m.] NStar reports that the number of Watertown customers without power is down to 4,845, or 28 percent.

[Updated Friday, 10:50 p.m.] Power is being restored already. NStar's outage map shows 8,075 customers still without power, or 39 customers with power restored. Outages seem to be on the Westside of Watertown - from Church Stret in Watertown Square and to the west. 

Readers report power has returned on Poplar Street, Winsor Avenue, Langdon Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Bailey Road.

[Updated, Friday 10:35 p.m.] NStar's outage map reports that 8,114 customers in Watertown have no power. That put the portion of town with power outages over 48 percent.

[Updated Friday, 10:22 p.m.] Thanks to reader Vatche Arabian for sending the photo of the fire trucks on Palfrey Street, responding to the downed wires, posted to the right.

[Updated Friday, 9:55 p.m.] Power is out to almost half the town! According to NStar's outage map, 47 percent of customers - 8,093 households - have lost power. A reader reports that NStar expected to restore power by 11:30 p.m.

Most of the outages seem to be west of Church Street.  Readers report power is also reportedly out on Summer Street in the area of Church Street, on Cuba Street, on Westminster Avenue and on Main Street at Green Street.

A tree fell on wires on the 100 block of Palfrey Street and a transformer blew on Channing Road, according to a reader.

NStar is on the scene of the wires down on the DPW truck on Orchard Street.

Have an outage or emergency? See the Important Numbers at the bottom of this story.

[Updated Friday 9:31 p.m.] A Public Works truck driver reports his truck is wrapped in in wires on Orchard Street. Also a reported transformer explosion in the area.

Power went out in the area. Live power line down on Lovell Road, according to scanner reports.

[Updated Friday, 8:35 p.m.] The wind is steadily blowing and snow is piling up everywhere. About 5 inches has fallen in Watertown, with drifts of 7 inches or more. 

[Updated Friday, 6:39 p.m.] The winds picked up after the sun went down. Reports of thunder during the storm - thundersnow - have come in from Fall River, Marshfield and Quincy, according to WHDH-TV.

[Updated Friday, 5:15 p.m.] Snow really blowing around as it is beginning to get dark. Hard to get a good measurement, but about 3 inches has fallen in Watertown.

[Updated Friday, 4:25 p.m.] The road conditions sound treacherous - not that anyone is supposed to be out after the Governor's Executive Order (see below). According to scanner reports an MBTA bus struck a pole on Galen Street. 

[Updated Friday, 3:30 p.m.] The streets of Watertown look almost empty. The snow is blowing around, so it is hard to tell how much has fallen, but between 1 and 2 inches was measured using the trusty Patch yard stick.

[Updated Friday, 3 p.m.] The Boston Bruins home game on Saturday has been pushed from a 1 p.m. to a 7 p.m. start. 

Boston College's men's hockey game against UMass Lowell scheduled for tonight has been postponed until Feb. 26, according to BCEagles.com

[Updated Friday, 2:20 p.m.] The Arsenal Mall closed early today due to the storm. The mall closed at 2 p.m., and the Chestnut Hill Mall in Newton closed at 11:30 a.m., according to officials from Simon Malls.

[Updated Friday, 12:49 p.m.] Gov. Deval Patrick announced that he is issuing an Executive Order banning vehicles on the roads after 4 p.m. Friday. Drivers face fines and prison time if they go out, the governor said in his televised news conference.

In addition, tolls will not be collected after 2 p.m. Friday until after the storm.

The last departure out of Logan Airport will be at 3 p.m, according to WHDH Channel 7's noon newscast. The airport will not reopen until Sunday.

[Updated Friday, 11:36 a.m.] The Archdiocese of Boston sent out the following announcement urging parishioners to take caution if when deciding whether to attend Mass on Sunday.

The Office of Divine Worship urges all Catholics to heed the travel advisories of their cities and towns, and to stay off the roads during the peak hours of the storm and plow operation.  The faithful are encouraged to use good judgment when planning to travel to Mass. Hopefully the storm will have passed on Saturday, and roadways will be clear for travel on Sunday.  In the event that roadways are not clear for travel on Sunday, the faithful are reminded that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation.  (See Code of Canon Law, Canon 1248 §2)

[Updated Friday, 11 a.m.] Town Hall closes today at noon due to the storm, the Town Manager's office announced. 

The library is hopping with people grabbing books, DVDs and more to keep them going through the storm.

Shoppers have grabbed much of the food from grocery stores around town, but for now they remain open.

[Updated Friday 10 a.m.] The Watertown Free Public Library closes Friday at noon and will be closed all day Saturday, due to the storm, according to the library website.

For up-to-the-minute news on this and other stories follow Watertown Patch on Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to the free email newsletter.

[Updated Friday, 9 a.m.] Two feet of snow? Make it three, according to the National Weather Services. In its latest Blizzard Warning, the National Weather Service on adjusted its predicted snowfall totals to up to three feet with the heaviest snow after 7 p.m. The warning remains in effect through Saturday at 1 p.m. 

Watertown may not get the maximum amount. Heaviest snows are expected along the I-95 corridor.

Reports have started coming in of snow falling in the Fall River area. 

[Updated Friday, 7 a.m.] Watertown officials put a Snow Emergency into effect beginnning at noon on Friday, which means on street parking will be banned. Click here for more details. 

[Updated Thursday, 5:40 p.m.] Several cancellations in and around Watertown have been reported, including the closing of the Watertown Public Schools.

Also, the MBTA announced that all bus, subway and commuter rail service will stop at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Gov. Deval Patrick has asked drivers to stay off the road after noon Friday, and asked all non-emergency state employees to stay home on Friday.

Logan Airport will also be shut, starting Friday afternoon through Saturday, according to the Boston Globe. MassPort, which runs the airport, recommends checking with your airline to see if it is cancelled. Click here for contact numbers

[Original Post] As of noon on Thursday, workers at the Department of Public Works put the last touches on the plows and sander/salters to get ready for the storm. [See the video of trucks at the Public Works Facility, to the right.]

“We have a substantial job ahead of us,” said DPW Superintendent Gerald Mee. “Our main goal is to keep some reasonable access on roads for police and fire vehicles and ambulances.”

Mee said Watertown could use 50 or more vehicles during the storm, including contractors hired by the town.

As of noon on Thursday, the decision on whether the Watertown Public Schools will close Friday had not been made.

NStar has alerted town officials that they will not send out crews with bucket trucks until after the storm is over, so any power outages could last longer than previous storms.

Stop & Shop Supermarkets will remain open late Thursday, until midnight, and will open at 6 a.m. on Friday so people can get supplies for the storm.

STORM SAFETY

Residents should take caution during the storm, said Watertown Fire Chief Mario Orangio.

“Remain indoors if at all possible and refrain from driving during the storm.  Also, those with elderly or incapacitated neighbors should check in on them regularly,” Orangio said.

Orangio also recommends people have supplies for at least three days, in case the storm gets severe.

“There should be some non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights and extra batteries around the house, along with a portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio in case of power outages or other emergencies caused by a winter storm,” Orangio said.

He also encouraged people to have a family emergency communication plan in the event that people become separated during the storm.

“Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the 'family contact'. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long distance,” Orangio said. “Make sure everyone knows the name, address and telephone number of the contact person.”

SHOVELING

The DPW reminds residents that when shoveling their driveway they should pile the snow to the right when facing the street. Also, do not completely shovel the street edge snow banking until the DPW has finished plowing.

Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau reminds business owners that the town's snow ordinance states: "24 hours after the storm ends, business shall remove and clear away snow and ice and create a path of at least 36 inches from the portion of the sidewalk which abuts any side of the building or lot of land. The path shall extend to the travelled way of the street at each corner."

 

For a list of cancelletions and closings click here.

 

IMPORTANT NUMBERS & WEBSITES: 

  • In an emergency, dial 911
  • Police Department:  617-972-6500
  • Fire Department: 617-972-6500
  • DPW: 617-972-6420
  • National Grid gas emergencies: 800-233-5325
  • NStar power outages: 800-592-2000 or the Report an Outage form.
  • Comcast: 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)
  • RCN: 1-866-TECH-RCN (1-866-832-4726) 
Rory Gill February 08, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Snow parking bans & shoveling requirements in Massachusetts, city-by-city: http://www.bostoncondolawyer.com/2013/02/08/city-snow-emergency-rules-ma/
bostonrob February 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Where are the plows? My street was plowed constantly at at the height of the storm Friday night into early Sat. morning and then nothing yesterday or today (Sunday). I don't get it. I called DPW today and held on to the emergency line for about 15 mins and no one picked up.....Tired of paying so much in taxes and services keep going down hill.
bostonrob February 10, 2013 at 11:25 PM
Where are the plows? My street was plowed constantly at the height of the storm Friday night into early Sat. morning, when no one could drive. And then nothing yesterday or today (Sunday). I don't get it. I called DPW today and held on to the emergency line for about 15 mins and no one picked up.....Tired of paying so much in taxes and services keep going down hill.

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