No matter which part of Massachusetts you are in, the governor and transportation officials want you to know that your commute home Wednesday will likely be slow and difficult.
"Everyone should expect a long and challenging commute home this evening due to the rapid snowfall that will start this afternoon," Gov. Charlie Baker said at a press conference Wednesday morning at the state's emergency operations center in Framingham.
(The National Weather Service in Boston told the Dorchester Reporter that Morrissey Boulevard should not be impacted by flooding during the daytime commutes on Wednesday, but that "there could be some very minor flooding with high tide late [Wednesday night], mainly the most vulnerable roads such as Morrissey Blvd.")
Another winter storm is moving into the state Wednesday morning, bringing the potential for more than a foot of wet snow for parts of the interior and more rain and wind for the coast. The governor said Wednesday's storm could result in power outages and flooding in towns that were underwater over the weekend.
"This storm is unique as it will create different weather challenges for every region of the commonwealth," Baker said. "High snowfall totals in the Berkshires and Worcester hills, hazardous driving conditions in Central Mass., Western Mass. and all roadways starting at Route 128 and heading west, and a risk of scattered power outages and minor to moderate coastal flooding along the coastline."
Baker said travel will be most difficult in the western and central parts of the state, which could see as much as 18 inches of snow. Travel in the eastern part of the state will also be difficult, he said. Where the rain/snow line falls could also complicate things in the greater Boston area.
Residents of greater Boston should try to use public transportation when possible but should "presume this evening's commute will be slow and at times difficult," Baker said.
Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said the Department of Transportation will have 400 pieces of equipment on the roads to prepare for or clear snow and will have between 2,500 and 3,000 pieces of equipment on the roads at the height of the storm.
"This storm ... has the potential to create significant hazardous conditions as the day wears on, especially this afternoon. That's going to make travel very difficult," Gulliver said. "In the western and central part of the state where it's been snowing already it's just going to get worse as the day progresses."
Gulliver added, "Plan your trip well ahead of time. If you do have to be out there, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time. It's going to be a very long commute tonight."
Baker called together all the major players involved in storm recovery -- and now also preparation -- Wednesday morning to take stock of how the state responded to the last storm and what it is doing to be ready for the storm that's already reared its head into the area.
Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito met Wednesday with Gulliver, Energy and Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz, and representatives from the Red Cross and local utility companies at the MEMA bunker in Framingham.
Last Friday and into the weekend, a strong nor'easter battered the Massachusetts coast and knocked out power to just under 450,000 homes and businesses. Heavy rain, high tides and a strong storm surge washed out coastal communities, especially on the South Shore.
"Many towns are still dealing with flooding and damaged sea walls and infrastructure, and about 700 homes are still dealing with power outages," Baker said.
MEMA provided more than 10,000 sandbags to coastal communities since the weekend's storm and has been active in helping towns shore up sea walls and other barriers ahead of Wednesday's storm. Baker said the state fast-tracked the permitting process last week to allow towns to do repair work right away.
"And we are ready to send out more heavy equipment to help rebuild these barriers after today's storm," the governor said Wednesday.
Baker announced Wednesday that MEMA and the Red Cross will open resource recovery centers in Quincy and Marshfield to assist residents who lost their homes and belongings to flooding, and for those seeking aid from the state and non-profits.
The center in Quincy will open Thursday and the Marshfield center will open Saturday.
"The idea here is a disaster survivor who needs any type of assistance can come into the center and be connected with a provider. So when the survivor enters the first thing they're going to do is register with the American Red Cross ... and then from there they will work through the center to avail themselves of the different agencies and organizations," Schwartz, the MEMA director, said. "It's one-stop shopping to access all of the services from the state and non-profits that we think people will need after a disaster."
Baker said more details, like the specific location of the centers, would be announced later Wednesday.