The early stages of what was expected to be a major snowstorm hit the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire Sunday afternoon and evening, making roads treacherous and prompting early cancellations of Monday classes in local schools.
On both sides of the border, snowy roads led to minor fender-benders, but no serious accidents as of early evening.
"The roads are fairly slippery and we're advising people to stay off the roads and let the DPW and State Highway clean them up," Lt. James Jajuga of the Methuen Police Department said Sunday evening. "But we've had very few issues and people are staying off the road."
Jajuga added that while he didn't have an official amount of snow that had fallen through Sunday evening, it was "accruing."
The winter storm that crept into the area late Sunday morning was expected to explode off the coast overnight, bringing heavy snow from the North of Boston region into Maine. Accumulations of 10 to 14 inches are expected before the snow winds down Monday afternoon. High winds with gust possibly as high as 55 mph are expected Monday. The winds and heavy, wet snow could result in downed trees and power outages, forecasters said.
Anticipated snowfall totals were a bit higher in Southern New Hampshire, with the National Weather Service forecasting 12 to 18 inches.
Sunday evening, the snow was already impacting travel on the highways.
While drivers in Methuen were remaining at home, that was not the case over the border, where Salem Police Sgt. Chad Clark said traffic was a "typical Sunday night in Salem."
"Roads are horrible and people aren't staying off them like we wish they would," he said. "We've had a few cars off the road and some minor fender-benders."
Haverhill police reported accidents and fender-benders, as did Lawrence police, who had their hands full trying to not only address accidents on city streets, but clearing cruisers out the station's parking lot so it could be plowed.
"The roads are treacherous," said Sgt. Mike Simard Sunday shortly before 5 p.m. "We've only had a few accidents, but minor ones with no injuries."
As snow continued to fall across the region Sunday, school districts on both sides of the state line began announcing closures for Monday.
In Massachusetts, Andover, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover public schools will be closed Monday, as will Central Catholic High School and Greater Lawrence Technical School.
In New Hampshire, the list includes Sanborn and Timberlane Regional School Districts, and the Derry, Londonderry, Hampstead, Salem and Windham school districts.
Some municipal offices will also be closed on Monday, including in Andover, Lawrence, Methuen, Plaistow and Salem, officials announced Sunday. Memorial Hall Library in Andover and the Plaistow Public Library will be closed Monday as well.
Haverhill declared a snow emergency that went into effect at 4 p.m. Sunday and continues through noon on Monday. Mayor James Fiorentini declared via Twitter that trash and recycling collection will be delayed one day.
Trash pickup also will be delayed one day in Lawrence, Methuen and Plaistow, officials said.
A parking ban in Andover went into effect at 6 p.m. Sunday and will continue through 6 a.m. Tuesday. Methuen's parking ban went into effect at noon on Sunday and continues through 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The Methuen Police Department also activated its Emergency Operations Center to handle storm-related calls.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged residents to avoid unnecessary driving in order to allow plows to keep streets clear. He also urged people to make sure sidewalks and fire hydrants were shoveled out.
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