Nashua braces for blizzard
NASHUA -- On Friday, the city was bracing for a major snow storm that forced businesses to close early as residents made last minute preparations for an estimated two feet or more of snow throughout the region.
"We are guarded and we are prepared," Deputy Fire Chief Michael O'Brien said late Friday afternoon. "Really, we are mostly concerned with the blizzard like conditions that are predicted, but we are hearty New Englanders and I think we will probably do alright."
City officials declared a snow emergency at 2 p.m. on Friday because of the blizzard, a severe weather event that could be potentially historic. Many schools districts throughout the state, including Nashua, chose to close their doors on Friday.
The best advice, according to O'Brien, is to stay home and stay off the roadways.
"Right now, we are treating this as a typical snowstorm, but we know there is going to be a lot of snow, and high winds are definitely expected," said O'Brien. "It is important to remind people that every single wire should be considered live and be avoided."
The snow started out slow, but by the afternoon, the National Weather Service was anticipating one to two inches per hour until about 3 p.m. today, according to a release from the Nashua Emergency Management office.
"It is very challenging to keep streets clear with snowfall of this magnitude. Forecasts are calling for deteriorating conditions for the Friday evening commute," said the release issued by Justin Kates, director of emergency management. "If possible, please remain off the roads during this time for your safety and to make room for equipment working to keep roads open."
Parking of cars on the street and in the municipal surface lots is prohibited during the snow emergency, which is in effect until 7 p.m. today. However, Kates stressed that free parking is available at the Elm Street and High Street parking garages during the emergency.
Vehicles that are not removed from the streets will be towed, and owners will be forced to pay a fine of up to $295 to retrieve their vehicles from the Solid Waste Department landfill. Cars may be picked up during the storm until 10 a.m. on Sunday, or during normal business hours, says the release.
"Depending on the duration of the storm and snowfall amounts, crews may need extensive time once the storm ends to clean all street and sidewalk routes," Kates said in the statement.
Nashua Fire Rescue had five extra staff members on duty Friday evening into this morning to help with any weather-related emergencies.
There is a Public Works snow line available at 603-589-4795, which will provide residents with up to date information on the storm. Crews are asking citizens to be patient as they work around the clock to clear the snow during this anticipated blizzard.
The Nashua Transit System canceled Friday night service, and was expected to resume Saturday bus routes at noon. For additional information about the Nashua Transit System during the storm, call 603-880-0100.
The Nashua Public Library, Pheasant Lane Mall, and Nashua City Hall closed early on Friday in anticipation of the heavy snowfalls expected during the evening hours.
Meanwhile, the city's emergency management team has been coordinating with the Boston National Weather Service Office and monitoring the track of the storm and potential impacts, according to the release.
In addition, departments within the city have been reviewing their emergency plans, testing generators and readying snow removal equipment, said Kates.
He is reminding residents to only use 911 for emergencies, to stay off the roads, have an emergency kit available, check on neighbors and family, report power outages by calling Public Service of New Hampshire at 1-800-662-7764, clear the streets of any snow removal obstructions and to stay informed by visiting www.nashuanh.gov.