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Boston Parking Ban Begins Saturday Night For Weekend Storm

People carry their sleds at the Boston Common last week during the third major winter storm this year. (Steven Senne/AP)closemore
People carry their sleds at the Boston Common last week during the third major winter storm this year. (Steven Senne/AP)

In anticipation of the snowstorm predicted to hit the region with blizzard-like conditions this weekend, Mayor Marty Walsh declared a snow emergency and parking ban in Boston beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday night.

The city said it will not begin ticketing and towing until midnight.

Cambridge declared a snow emergency and parking ban beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday. Somerville will reinstate their parking ban at noon on Saturday. A snow emergency and parking ban will go into effect at midnight Saturday in Brookline.

Walsh has also declared that selected streets in South Boston will become one-way streets starting at 10 p.m. Even-numbered streets will be westbound and odd-numbered streets will be eastbound.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for all of eastern Massachusetts and coastal areas of Maine and New Hampshire.

The storm is expected to intensify Saturday night and last into Sunday. National Weather Service forecasters say the storm could bring more than a foot of fresh snow, strong wind gusts and a coastal flooding threat.

"The wind is going to be the big factor with this especially inside of Rt. 128 where winds will be gusting 45 to perhaps 55 mph during the day tomorrow continuing into the evening tomorrow night," WBUR meteorologist David Epstein said Saturday. "Combine all this wind with the cold and that starts to get into a dangerous situation."

Epstein said the winds will be strong enough that they could take down some power lines and cause dangerous wind chills.

Gov. Charlie Baker urged drivers to stay off the roads during the storm, but stopped short of an outright travel ban.

"Stay off the roads if you could late tonight and all day tomorrow so that the crews could do the work they need to do to clear the snow. If you don't have to, please don't go out," said Baker in a short press conference Saturday.

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth said it was taking the plant offline as a precaution in case of potential loss of offsite power or the regional grid's inability to accept power from the plant. It had shut down automatically during a Jan. 27 storm when an electric connection to the grid was interrupted and was offline for 12 days.

Massachusetts Port Authority said it will do all it can to keep Logan International Airport open during the storm, but the agency warns that if visibility deteriorates too much, they will have to stop plows from clearing runways.

Logan said more than 250 flights were already cancelled for Sunday, and none were scheduled for Sunday morning.

The MBTA had already decided to suspend late night service Saturday and all service on Sunday. Subway, commuter rail, trolleys, buses and ferries will be shut down. The last trains will leave downtown Boston at 12:50 a.m. Sunday.

“The projected heavy snow and high winds will significantly inhibit the MBTA’s ability to deliver safe and reliable service,” the agency said in a statement on Friday. “Trees and power lines could come down, and visibility will be hampered.”

The National Guard members from Massachusetts and other states will continue to help clear train tracks and roads, Baker said.

Baker proclaimed a "Valentine's Week" in an effort to help restaurants and small businesses financially hurting from the recent onslaught of snow. Saturday, he urged everyone in the state once again to enjoy a Valentine's evening out, as long as they are home before the storm worsens around midnight.

"I just want to remind everyone, it's a Cinderella evening. You have until midnight to enjoy Valentine's Day out with your loved ones and family," he said.

With reporting by The Associated Press.

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