Preparations are in place. All that remains is for the storm to arrive.
Town Manager Richard Montuori met with his department heads Thursday morning to hammer out plans for dealing with the impact of the blizzard expected to roar across eastern Mass. Friday and Saturday.
Forecasts vary, with snowfall expected to be anywhere from 24-38 inches. The snow is expected to start Friday morning and pick up intensity through the afternoon and into the evening.
"The town has prepared all its vehicles for snow plowing and treating roads, tested generators and in addition to its normal group of private contractors the Town has called others to be on call," said Montuori. "Police and Fire will be fully staffed and additional staff will be brought as needed. Depending upon the speed of the storm it will last until Saturday afternoon."
DPW Administrator Brian Gilbert said the strategy will be to focus on salting and sanding during the early hours ofthe storm to get through the rush-hour commute. As the snowfalls picks up in intensity, he will roll out a fleet of plows that includes 16 municipal vehicles and 60 contractors.
"The town is divided into five sections," said Gilbert. "Each section has what we call a 'checker.' The 'checker' will move around equipment based on need."
Gilbert said it takes a plow team roughly four hours to clear a section. After that, they start all over.
Meanwhile, residents were flocking to supermarkets and hardware stores, stocking up emergency supplies such as batteries, flashlights and bottled water.
Montuori said while he is hoping for the best, this storm is likely to bring with it widespread power outages.
"We are watching very closely the storm line between wet heavy snow and fluffy light snow since the heavy storm causes more power outages," he said. "Even under the current forecast we expect power outages and residents should prepare accordingly."
National Grid officials says they are prepared to address any outages and encouraged customers to be in contact with the company regarding the latest National Grid provided the following contact information:
- Outage reporting hotline – Massachusetts and Rhode Island customers can call 1-800-465-1212 to report an outage.
- Text messages – Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service.
- National Grid uses social media – Facebook and Twitter – to communicate with customers about service issues and interruptions during storms.
- E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company’s website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request.
- Customers can use their mobile devices to track outage information and storm related safety tips through National Grid’s new mobile site that can be accessed at nationalgrid.com.
Click here to keep track of all the latest information on the Blizzard of '13 at the Tewksbury Patch Center. We will update the Storm Center through the duration of the storm.