Get off the roads — or better yet, stay home altogether.
That, in a nutshell is the advice of city, town and state officials today as a dangerous superstorm named Nemo, expected to pack winds of 35 miles per hour and gusts of up to 50 mph or higher, continues to bear down on Cape Ann and all of New England with a force that weather experts believe will essentially slow the region to a stop through sometime tomorrow.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who earlier declared a state of emeergency for all of Massachusetts that went into effect at noon, has now ordered a roadway travel ban effective at 4 p.m. meaning that all non-essential cars and other vehicles must be off all roadways by that time.
That dramatic step, aimed at opening the streets and roadways for emergency crews trying to clear the snow and tend to other issues, follows other transportation shutdowns announced earlier.
All service on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s bus and rail lines — including commuter rail service to and from Cape Ann — is scheduled to shut down at 3:30 p.m. Also, the Cape Ann Transportation Authority, or CATA, is shutting down its service at 3 p.m., officials announced this morning.
ion On Cape Ann, the Cape Ann Transporation Authjority is shutting down its bus service today at 3 p.m. as wwll
On Cape Ann and across most of Eastern Massachusetts, all schools are closed for the day, and a number of businesses were looking to close down early as well.
The National Weather Service, continuing to track the storm, has maintained a full blizzard warning that began at 6 a.m. and carries through 1 p.m. on Saturday. A blizzard is defined as a storm that carries winds of 35 miles per hour or higher with consistent heavy snow and minuum visibility over a period of at least three hours — and, by all counts, Nemo, so named by the National Weather Service which now names and recognizes winter storms that can carry hurricane force, will almost certainly fill the bill..