By James Niedzinski
---- — With a potentially historic winter storm on the way, the National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning covering virtually all of Friday and extending into Saturday.
The blizzard warning — indicating a full-fledged blizzard, defined as a heavy snowstorm with sustained winds or frequent gusts of up to at least 35 miles per hour and minimal visibility over periods of three hours or longer — has been issued for Essex County, including all of Cape Ann, covering from 6 a.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday.
And Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk this afternoon issued a snow emergencu declaration with an accompanying on-street parking ban, effective beginning 8 a.m. on Friday and most likely remaining in effect through Sunday evening, the mayor said.
Meanwhile, the city is also establishing a skeleton Emergency Operations Center at Addison Gilbert Hospital, to be staffed by volunteers ad police, firefighters and emergency management personnel throughoutthe storm.
Gloucester school district officials said there will be a half day at schools tomorrow, with no after-school activities. For a full and growing list of local school closures and other cancellations, see the related story also posted here on gloucestertimes.com.
According to metorologists with Accuweather, a majority of the heavy snow fall is expected to fall Friday afternoon into Saturday, with Cape Ann can expect anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of snow though a 12-hour period of snowfall.
Winds will range from 20 to 30 miles per hour, but gusts may reach up to 50 miles per hour, forecasters said.
A parking ban has also been put into effect for Manchester beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow, while Essex and Rockport bans are effective from midnight to 6 a.m., as usual.
Gloucester’s Friday trash pickup in the city will remain the same, but pickup is expected to be done by noon.
Elsewhere, the transfer stations in Manchester and Rockport will be closed all day on Saturday.
Police officials across Cape Ann advise residents to keep off the roads during the blizzard unless absolutely necesarry.
For much more on this story, look to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com. To have text updates regarding this story and other local breaking news coverage sent to your mobile phone, just sign up for the Times’ free text-alert service on the gloucestertimes.com homepage.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.