Residents are encouraged to stay home. If travel is necessary, please use public transportation.
BOSTON – Friday, January 28, 2021 – Mayor Michelle Wu today declared a snow emergency ahead of the forecasted winter storm that is expected to begin early Saturday morning and continue into Sunday. Total snow accumulations are expected to range between 18 to 24 inches, with winds as high as 40-50 mph. Residents are advised that a parking ban will take effect starting at 9:00 p.m. tonight.
Once the snow emergency goes into effect, vehicles parked on major roads and main arteries will be towed. The City is urging residents to abide by snow regulations and encouraging all drivers to use caution if traveling. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications through AlertBoston and to call 311 for non-emergency related issues. For any emergency, residents should call 911.
“As Boston prepares for the big snowstorm on its way, I encourage all our residents to take precautions to keep everyone safe,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I want to thank the many city employees who have already begun preparations and will be responding to the storm this weekend—treating and clearing our streets, as well as being available to answer 311 calls for non-emergency questions throughout the weekend.”
A snow emergency has been declared, starting Friday, January 28 at 9:00 p.m. A parking ban will also take effect at that time and all vehicles parked on a posted snow emergency artery will be towed to allow for snow clearing operations to take place. Boston residents with a resident sticker can find a list of free and discounted garages here; and parking at participating garages will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday. Discounted parking starts two hours before we declare a snow emergency, and ends two hours after lifting the emergency.
Trash and recycling pick-up will continue on a regular schedule on Friday (1/28) and resume on Monday (1/31). Residents are encouraged to download the Trash Day App for more information on their trash and recycling pick-up schedule.
Nighttime street sweeping on main roads, arteries, and commercial roads is canceled until further notice. Updates will be provided on boston.gov when night time street sweeping is scheduled to resume.
As indicated in signage posted in BPS school parking lots, parking is not allowed in these lots during snowstorms. Vehicles may be towed if they are parked in BPS parking lots during the snow emergency. Towing could start on Saturday and could continue through the weekend until lots are cleared.
You have 48 hours to use a space saver after the end of an emergency. After that, you must remove it from the street. Please note that space savers are banned in the South End.
All BCYF community centers and the Boston Public Library will be closed on Saturday.
The Public Works Department (PWD) will have equipment to treat Boston’s roads prior to the snowfall starting, and the City has the ability to put over 850 pieces of equipment on city streets. The PWD currently has 38,000 tons of salt on hand.
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is in constant contact with the National Weather Service to receive detailed forecast updates for the City of Boston and to ensure City departments have plans in place to handle the weather. Residents can sign up to receive AlertBoston notifications by phone, text, or email. Residents can call 311 for non-emergency issues.
Rules on clearing snow:
Property owners must fully clear snow, sleet and ice from sidewalks and curb ramps abutting the property within three hours after the snowfall ends, or three hours after sunrise if the snow ends overnight. Curb and pedestrian ramps to the street should be cleared fully and continually over the duration of the storm to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities. If the storm lasts for an extended period of time, property owners are asked to continually check and clear ramps abutting their property.
Removal of snow and ice from a private property to the street or sidewalk is prohibited.
Failure to comply with these rules can result in fines issued by PWD’s Code Enforcement Division. Fines associated with improper removal of snow can be found here.
Caring for vulnerable populations:
If you see individuals experiencing homelessness or vulnerable individuals out in the cold who appear immobile, disoriented or underdressed for the weather, please call 911.
Boston’s emergency shelters are open 24-hours a day and accept walk-ins. Amnesty is offered to anyone with a non-violent restriction. Men can access shelter at the 112 Southampton Street Shelter, and women should go to the Woods-Mullen Shelter at 794 Massachusetts Ave. BPHC and the City work closely with shelter providers to ensure that no client is without shelter, food, resources, and a warm respite from the cold.
The BPHC Engagement Center is open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. In addition to providing an indoor heated space, it offers a range of basic amenities and comfort items, such as clean bathroom facilities, water, coffee, and light snacks.
During extreme cold weather, street outreach teams operate with extended hours and provide mobile outreach vans on the streets in the evening and throughout the day.
Keep catch basins and fire hydrants clear. For a map of catch basins and fire hydrants, visit here. You can assist in keeping hydrants clear of snow so the Boston Fire Department can access them quickly in case of emergency.
Shoveling snow requires significant exertion; please be cautious and pay attention to signs of overexertion. Stop if you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting. Call 911 if those symptoms do not resolve quickly.
Snow piles can make navigating intersections dangerous for pedestrians and drivers. Please take extra care when turning corners with snow piles that might limit visibility.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a concern during winter weather, especially with the use of generators. Residents should use their home heating systems wisely and safely, and have a working carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home. Call 911 immediately if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
Sitting in a car while idling can be deadly if the tailpipe is blocked. Do not let children sit in an idling car while shoveling. Clear any household exhaust pipes (e.g. gas exhaust for heating systems or dryers) and vehicle exhaust pipes of snow.
Have a contractor check the roof to see if snow needs to be removed. If roof snow can be removed from the ground with the use of a snow-rake, do so with caution. Avoid working from ladders, and be mindful of slippery surfaces.
Dress for the weather:
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, residents are required to wear face coverings in indoor public places.
Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.
Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
Wear mittens over gloves; layering works for your hands as well.
Always wear a hat, and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
Dress children warmly, and set reasonable time limits on outdoor play.
Restrict infants’ outdoor exposure when it is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Watch for signs of frostbite:
Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
Watch for signs of hypothermia:
These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If you or someone you know shows any of these symptoms, get in touch with a healthcare provider immediately. If symptoms are severe, call 911.
Never try to heat your home using a charcoal or gas grill, the kitchen stove, or other product not specifically designed as a heater. These can cause a fire or produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide very quickly.
Have your heating system cleaned and checked annually.
Install and maintain smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible gas produced whenever any fuel is burned. Common sources include oil or gas furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, stoves, and some space heaters. It has no smell, taste, or color, and it is poisonous and potentially deadly.
Don’t place electric space heaters near curtains or other flammable materials. Turn them off before you go to bed.
Emergency home repair resources:
Income-eligible homeowners and Boston’s residents over age 60 can receive assistance with winter emergencies and repairs, such as fixing storm damage, leaking roofs, furnaces and leaking/frozen pipes. For assistance, residents should call the Mayor’s hotline at 311 or the Boston Home Center at 617-635-HOME (4663).
In addition, the Mayor’s Seniors Save program helps income eligible Bostonians over the age of 60 replace old, inefficient heating systems with a brand new heating system before a catastrophic failure occurs during the cold winter months. Older adults can also call 311 or the Boston Home Center at 617-635-HOME (4663) to be connected with a City staffer to provide additional details.
For more information, please visit the Winter in Boston guide and follow @CityofBoston on Twitter.