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Boston Schools Closed As Mass. Braces For Snow

The second major snow storm of the season is heading our way. Forecasters predict a nor'easter will arrive after midnight Tuesday night, dumping more than a foot of snow on some parts of the state.

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With high wind gusts, a blizzard warning is in effect for the state's eastern seaboard from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Ten to 15 inches of snow is expected in Boston with higher accumulation in isolated areas, including central Massachusetts. Lower snowfall amounts are forecast for southeastern areas, and Cape Cod and the islands.

On Tuesday afternoon, Boston declared a snow emergency, effective at 9 p.m., and was also one of dozens of districts to cancel school Wednesday.

Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville were among other communities that declared snow emergencies Tuesday, effective either Tuesday night or early Wednesday.

"This is going to be a hard storm to keep up with, especially when we start getting to snowfalls between 1-3 inches an hour, so the best thing people can do is stay off the roads," said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Taunton.

Dunham said the Boston area will see its heaviest snow Wednesday between 4 a.m. and noon. The timing is tough for the morning commute.

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"The driving conditions, the visibility conditions are going to be at its poorest during the morning commute, so obviously that's a major concern for us right now," said Peter Judge, with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

State Highway Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky said crews will start treating roads Tuesday night.

"We have more than 4,000 pieces of equipment at our disposal, and nearly 800 of our employees, and several thousand contractors available as well, so we're prepared to throw everything we have at this storm," she said.

In Boston, 500 pieces of snow removal equipment and 25,000 tons of salt stand at the ready in Boston, and officials plan to open all the city's emergency homeless shelters to make sure no one is left out in the cold.

Logan Airport spokesman Phil Orlandella says several airlines canceled flights Wednesday and have been trying to get passengers on flights Tuesday.

"They tell us (Wednesday) that basically there will be no service at Logan, with the exception maybe of one or two flights," Orlandella said. "The airport will be probably a ghost town."

Judge said that because this storm is just three weeks removed from the last, the state is better prepared.

"Generally speaking, we tend to see these storms, as the season progresses, are better handled by everybody," Judge said.

"Hopefully it'll be dry enough and fluffy enough, even though it will be windy, that we won't have to deal with extensive power outages."

Judge also said the storm will coincide with low tides, thus limiting coastal flooding.

WBUR's Benjamin Swasey contributed to this report.

This program aired on January 11, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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