WAKEFIELD — The town can expect at least a foot and a half of snow from the major winter storm expected to begin overnight and last all day tomorrow.
DPW Director Joseph Conway and his staff have been looking at various TV computer weather models and get regular updates from the weather service the department subscribes to. The consensus: Wakefield will see at least 18 inches of snow.
As a result, DPW crews were out today pre-treating streets. Conway said some DPW staff will report for a salting operating at 11 o’clock tonight. The rest of the staff will come in around 1 a.m. tomorrow with private contractors in by 2 a.m. The plan is for crews to hit Wakefield roads as quickly as possible and to stay ahead of the heaviest snowfall, which may come down as much as two or three inches an hour at the height of the nor’easter.
With high winds expected, the DPW also will bring in its tree removal contactor so snow removal operations are not interrupted by any downed limb work.
Meanwhile, public safety officials shared the following safety precautions ahead of this weekend’s expected storm.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Middlesex County, including Wakefield, beginning tonight, Jan. 28 through Saturday, Jan. 29. Snow accumulations of as much as 18 inches are possible, with wind gusts potentially approaching 60 mph.
Travel conditions are expected to be very difficult to impossible, and strong winds could cause tree and property damage. Strong winds may also lead to power outages.
Visit https://weather.gov to see the forecast for Wakefield and the surrounding area as the storm approaches. Residents are reminded that the forecast can change quickly and at any point, and they should monitor the local forecast throughout the coming days.
Residents can listen to local area radio, NOAA Radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates. Local public safety officials shared the following winter weather safety tips:
BEFORE A WINTER STORM
• Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
• Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.
• Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby. [https://www.redcross.org/…/survival-kit-supplies.html]
• Prepare for possible power outages: [https://www.ready.gov/power-outages#]
• Be sure you have ample heating fuel. If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood-burning or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
•Review generator safety [ https://www.esfi.org/generator-safety/]. Never run a generator in an enclosed space.
• Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working correctly and that the outside vent is clear of leaves and debris. During or after the storm, make sure it is cleared of snow.
• Home fires are common each winter when trying to stay warm. Review ways to keep your home and loved ones safe. [https://www.ready.gov/home-fires]
DURING A WINTER STORM
• Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
• Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins. Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
• Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone.
• If you must drive during winter weather conditions, make sure all fluid levels are full and ensure that the lights, heater and windshield wipers are in proper working condition.
• Don’t leave the house without the following: A fully charged cellphone, car charger and an emergency supplies kit in your car [https://www.ready.gov/kit]. Ensure your kit includes additional layers of clothing and non-perishable food.
• If your car gets stuck during a storm, stay in the vehicle. If you leave your vehicle, you will become disoriented quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.
AFTER A WINTER STORM
• Stay informed and pay attention to the information provided by local authorities.
• Stay off the roads and stay indoors, if possible. Give plow and sand/salt trucks the space they need to operate.
• Remain cautious even once conditions have improved. Even if roadways have been cleared of snow following a storm, any water left on the roadways may freeze, resulting in a clear sheet of ice, also known as black ice. Black ice is patchy ice on roadways that cannot easily be seen.
• Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia: https://www.cdc.gov/disa…/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html
Residents are also asked to assist firefighters by clearing snow away from fire hydrants during and after the storm. Snow should be cleared 3-5 feet all around the hydrant so firefighters have enough room to connect a hose.
Residents are reminded that some heating systems use a powered exhaust system to vent combustion byproducts. Residents should make sure outside vents are clear to prevent carbon monoxide from building up.
For additional winter storm safety information, visit NWS [https://www.weather.gov/safety/winter] or the Red Cross: [https://www.redcross.org/…/types-of…/winter-storm.html]
For any other questions on cold weather safety please visit weather.gov. [https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold]