Snow, strong winds bear down on Valley  

  • Bill Clements, the co-owner of Broadside Books in Northampton, shovels in the early part of the storm Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Thomas Mazuch clears off the sidewalk in front of Sam’s Pizza in Northampton, during the early part of the storm Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Bill Clements, the co-owner of Broadside Books in Northampton, shovels in the early part of the storm Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Thomas Mazuch clears off the sidewalk in front of Sam’s Pizza in Northampton, during the early part of the storm Thursday morning. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/4/2018 11:27:38 AM

NORTHAMPTON— Snow started falling early Thursday morning, just in time to put a light coat on the roads before the morning commute. 

“We are out in full force right now,” said Donna LaScaleia, director of the Northampton Department of Public Works. “We have about 60 pieces of equipment out.”

Northampton declared a snow emergency at about 6 a.m. It will remain in effect for the duration of the storm and could last more than one night, according to the DPW’s website. This means that the city will tow any vehicles parked overnight on city streets starting at midnight until 6 a.m., and between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Main Street, until the ban is lifted.

“We expected the storm to increase in strength rapidly,” said Alan Dunham a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton. “ It has done that and will continue to do that.”

In Hampshire county, a winter storm warning will be in effect until 1 a.m. Friday morning, according Dunham, and the region will see between six and 10 inches of snow. The National Weather Service forecasts wind speeds between 15 and 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph, and temperatures in the mid 20s. A wind chill advisory will also be in effect from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon, with gusts up to 40 mph and windchill temperatures between 15 and 20 below zero expected, according to Dunham.

Peter Pan Bus Lines canceled all service for Thursday, according to a notice published on their website citing severe weather conditions, and employee and patron safety. All routes will resume on Friday, according to the company, and any customers with Thursday tickets can exchange them either online or at a Peter Pan ticket counter. 

No accidents were reported as of 9 a.m. by the Amherst, Easthampton, Northampton or Hadley police departments, and no vehicles were reported towed overnight.

“It’s been, knock on wood, pretty quiet so far,” Northampton Police Sergeant Patrick Moody said Thursday morning. 

Public schools across Hampshire county are closed today anticipating the heavy snow and strong winds. Among the many other closures are Forbes Library in Northampton, the Amherst Senior Center, state court in Belchertown and Northampton, the Five Colleges, local banks and town halls.  Parking bans will be in effect in most local municipalities overnight. 

Easthampton police closed Mountain Road, Route 141, Thursday morning at 9 a.m. citing dangerous conditions and will reopen the road at the conclusion of the storm. Detour signs will re-route travelers down East Street and Route 5 to get back onto Route 141, according to Easthampton police officer Chad Alexander.

“I would just ask that our plows are out there trying to clear the snow so please give them room to work and please keep your speeds down and drive safely,” LaScaleia, Northampton’s DPW director, said.

For more information from the Northampton DPW, please call  413-586-6969 or visit their website at www.northamptonma.gov/306/winter-storms.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at srobertson@gazettenet.com

 


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