The storm wasn’t going to start for nearly 24 hours, but public works crews were ready yesterday.
They had already fueled up their sanders, plows and spreaders, and were ready to hit the roads when the snowflakes started to fly.
“It looks like we are going to get hit pretty good,” Methuen Department of Public Works Director Ray DiFiore said last night.
Schools were preparing, too — to stay closed in some cases. Schools that were closed as of press time included Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover and Haverhill public schools. The University of New Hampshire, UMass Lowell and Merrimack College also declared snow days.
The worst conditions are expected this morning. Meteorologists predicted that 1 to 3 inches would fall between 1 and 6 a.m., about 4 to 6 inches between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. The snow is expected to taper off by early afternoon in eastern areas, lingering in northern Massachusetts until evening.
Temperatures will be in the 20s.
By the time the snow finally stops, there should be 10 to 14 inches on the ground in the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire, according to Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through tonight, advising of heavy snow that could make for difficult traveling conditions.
Both the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Departments of Transportations state roads would be treated with salt before the snow hit. Crews were expected to be out in full force during the storm.
Many people took advantage of the calm before the storm yesterday to stock up on food and other supplies.
Shoppers began flocking to Market Basket in Londonderry as early as 7 a.m., assistant manager Jim Theriault said.
“It’s been busier than usual,” he said.
The next snowstorm will begin Sunday night and last through Monday morning, but Curtis declined to say how much snow is expected.