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Boston braces for biggest snowstorm of the season

City, MBTA prepared to weather the storm.

As Boston braces for what could be the biggest snowstorm the city has seen in years, officials said “Let it snow.”

Meteorologists are predicting up to 14 inches of snow could fall on the region tomorrow and Mayor Marty Walsh said the city is prepared.

“We will have 600 pieces of equipment on the road, beginning with pretreating before snow starts and then plowing all day,” said.

The snowfall will begin early — around 7 a.m.,according to Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore.

“The heaviest snow will be during the late rush through mid-afternoon,” he said, warning commuters it could “stop them in their tracks.”

Snowfall is predicted to stop by 7 p.m., but temperatures will drop to 9 degrees overnight.

City shelters are open and will remain open throughout the weekend to accommodate the homeless. South Station and Back Bay will also remain open overnight to shelter people from the cold.

Boston Public Schools will be closed Thursday.Walsh did not yet declare a snow emergency, despite sayingthis could be the largest snowstorm his administration has seen yet.

“Everyone will be working hard, but I’d like to ask the public to be patient,” he said. “We could see 1 to 2 inches every hour.”

He asked residents to pitch in and help dig out fire hydrants and handicapped parking spaces.

The T is ‘ready’

Thursday’s storm will be the first major blizzard to hit the MBTA since the historic spate of blizzards crippled the T and stranded travelers for days, but spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the T is up for the task.

“The MBTA is fully prepared for tomorrow's storm,” he said.

The T has spent more than $100 million on new snow-fighting equipment, including on two jet engine-powered snow blowers nicknamed “snowzilla,” and on infrastructure improvements over the last two years.

RELATED: MBTA overhaul focuses on Red Line service for upcoming winter

The massive overhaul in winter storm preparedness also focused on portions of the rail system that are above ground. A new third rail was installed on all sections of the Red Line that are not underground, and more than 114,000 linear feet of rail heaters will help keep Red and Orange Line trains moving. The transporation system has 80 new snow plows, something they didn’t have during the 2015 winter.

Anti-icing equipment will also be activated throughout the system to prevent ice from forming on the third rail.

The biggest service interruptions could be to buses, which might need to be re-routed due to traffic or road conditions.

Winter storms can be unpredictable though, and Pesaturo encouraged riders to stay connected on all service-related information via T-Alerts, mbta.com/winter, the transit app, and by following @MBTA on Twitter.

But just because it might be possible to gallivant around, doesn’t necessarily mean you should, Walsh said.

“Stay off the streets if you can,” he said.

 

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