UPDATED: 2:30 p.m.
The second major snowstorm of the season has struck the region is expected to dump upwards of two feet of snow before it winds down later this evening.
A Winter Storm Warning, issued by The National Weather Service, will remain in effect through 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The forecast has been modified and now 19-24 inches of snow are expected to blanket Tewksbury and the surrounding towns. Snow is falling at a rate of 2-3 inches per hour in the heaviest bands. The worst of the snowfall is expected from 6 a.m. to noon, which made the morning commute a nightmare.
DPW and state plow crews are working feverishly to keep up with the snowfall and keep the roads as clear as possible.
“Hazardous travel conditions expected. Heavy snow will significantly impact the morning commute. Strong Northeasterly winds will combine with heavy snow to create near blizzard conditions at times," stated the NWS alert.
In fact, a blizzard warning was in effect for coastal communities.
The storm created major headaches for Tewksbury Emergency Responders and National Grid crews, called to the scene of a major gas main rupture on Lowe Street.
According to Police Lt. Robert Stephens, officers responded to the scene around 8 p.m. Tuesday after residents noticed a strong natural gas smell in the neighborhood.
Crews battled heavy snow and high winds as they worked throughout the night to repair the leak. The scene was finally cleared around 8 a.m. Stephens said the rupture to the line appears to have been caused by corrosion of the piping.
Power outages in the areas of Andover Street and Livingston Street have been reported, leaving close to 400 customers without power this morning. National Grid had powered restored just before noon. A brief outage, lasting only around 15 seconds, was also reported in the Pleasant Street area.
As of 2:30 p.m., Tewksbury Police were reporting just a handful of minor accidents. However, a tow truck was called to Shawsheen Street to assist a tractor trailer that had gone off the road. There were no injuries.
During the height of the storm, visibility was reported as low as 100 yards.
The high winds have resulted in a wind chill of 7 degrees. While residents are advised to remain indoors, MEMA offers tips for staying safe in extreme cold. (click here).
If you must be on the roads, here are some tips to follow to get to your destination safely: