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January 3, 2014

Methuen: City Hall, schools expected to stay closed today

METHUEN — City offices closed early yesterday and could be shuttered today as the nor’easter that buried the region continues for a second day.

Schools remained closed a second day, as announced on Wednesday, and public works crews worked to stay on top of mounting snow as forecast totals were adjusted downward, and then back up again. Police said that no major crashes had occurred as of yesterday evening.

“People are staying off the streets,” police Lt. Kevin Martin said. “It’s going to be a long storm, so the less people on the streets, the better. I thought it was going to be a zoo, but it’s not.”

Mayor Stephen Zanni decided to close city hall at 2:30 yesterday afternoon and was considering keeping offices closed Friday. “The governor is sending everyone home, and we’re going to also,” Zanni said yesterday afternoon. “I just got an update from the roads crew and they said the roads are slippery.”

Raymond DiFiore, director of public works, said yesterday at 5 p.m. that a full crew of drivers, including some hired help, and was able to work on both the major roads and many of the secondaries.

“Now that we have our full complement out, we’re in the mains, the side streets, everything,” DiFiore said. “They’ll run tandem, they’ll do the mains, then scoot off onto the secondaries.”

He said having school cancelled made plowing that much easier as plows and sanders do not have to be diverted for extra care on bus routes.

Once the snow lets up and the roads are clear, potentially not until this afternoon, the plows will start work on sidewalks and public lots around City Hall.

But DiFiore said the storm still needs to be watched, as forecasters lowered the predicted total late Wednesday and Thursday, before raising it again.

“We’re going right through the night,” he said. “This is showing the thing could last through noontime tomorrow.”

A parking ban is in effect through noon today. DiFiore and police said vehicles parked on public ways will be towed.


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