BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) advises the public that forecasters are expecting winter weather throughout the next 48 hours minimum with possible freezing drizzle predicted late tonight and a snow storm expected to last from Sunday morning until Monday evening. The public is encouraged to monitor the weather conditions and avoid driving or take public transportation throughout the duration of this storm.

“In addition to possible freezing drizzle on Saturday night in the eastern region of the state including the Greater Boston area, we expect there to be moderate to heavy snowfall beginning Sunday morning and lasting until Monday night,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “The heaviest of this snow is predicted to fall on Sunday afternoon and evening and some locations could see snowfall amounts totaling up to approximately 18 inches as well as strong and sustained winds that could create white-out and hazardous conditions on the roadways. We encourage all travelers to monitor weather and road conditions and make informed, safe decisions and avoid driving or take public transit if they are able to.”

The weather forecast is calling for snow to begin falling between approximately 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday with the more intense snow sweeping west to east on Sunday afternoon through the evening hours. Blowing and drifting of snow could promote reduced visibility of a quarter mile or less and create a blizzard in areas of the state. The strongest winds are then expected to occur around midday on Monday with 55 mph sustained winds and higher winds along the coastline, and the storm is expected to taper off by Monday evening. Locations throughout Massachusetts are expected to receive plow-able snowfall amounts and its possible some northern areas of the state could receive as much as 18 inches of snow.

The MBTA is continuing to closely monitor conditions and travelers should check T-Alerts at www.mbta.com/alerts for up-to-date service information, sign up to receive mobile phone or e-mail T-Alerts at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/MABTA/subscriber/new, and follow @MBTA on Twitter. Individuals should also follow the Massachusetts RMV on Twitter at @MassRMV to learn of closings and find the status of scheduled road tests on Monday.

If drivers must go out on the roadways, they are advised to drive the conditions, lower their speeds, give themselves extra time to reach their destinations, and remember MassDOT’s message “Don’t Crowd the Plow” and stay behind snow removal equipment on the roadways. MassDOT strongly urges drivers to always wear their seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cell phones and devote their full attention to what is ahead on the road.

As an example of the danger of failing to give snowplow drivers extra space, please see this video of a tractor trailer truck passing and clipping a snowplow in Utah and sending the plow truck off the road and through a guardrail.  Fortunately, the plow driver in this video is expected to make a full recovery and meanwhile, the driver of the tractor trailer was issued a citation by law enforcement.

For updates on road and traffic conditions in Massachusetts, drivers can:

  • Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
  • Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions and MassDOT’s efforts to treat major highways throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

Other important winter driving tips include:

  • Ensure you have a full tank of gas, flash light, blanket, jump cables, and other supplies in your car before heading out onto the roadways in winter conditions.
  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof- before driving (start with the tailpipe).
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.
  • Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.
  • Most importantly please remember to slow down. Also, seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law.

More information on safe winter driving can be found at: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/departments/snowice/safewinterdrivingtips.aspx