NEWBURYPORT — Keep your shovels close by.
As you dig out today, more snow, mixing with some sleet or rain, is expected to arrive tomorrow, but the total accumulation won't be as high as estimates predicted for yesterday's storm, meteorologists say.
"There's still a lot developing with that," meteorologist Alan Dunham of the National Weather Service in Taunton said yesterday.
Initial forecasts show the storm will be mostly snow, maybe mixing in with some sleet or changing to rain. Unlike last night's storm, tomorrow's snow will have less accumulation since it will mix with rain, but Monday could be a cold day due to the gusty winds of the storm.
"I would anticipate ... getting a fairly good amount of snow before the change over," Dunham said.
Though many workers left work early or didn't go at all yesterday, the near white-out conditions in the late afternoon still caused clogged roads all over the area. From the outset of the storm, accidents were being reported around the area, including a head-on collision at Center Street in Rowley that resulted in minor injuries.
Backups at key local intersections like Storey Avenue and Low Street in Newburyport and Bridge Road and Route 110 in Salisbury were backed up for a half-mile.
But visions of the December 2007 storm that created gridlock on the interstate highways never materialized, as businesses and schools let out early at the urging of public officials.
A parking ban will be in effect in Newburyport through noon today.
Moak said the city will be flexible and won't enforce the parking ban downtown Friday until all the shops and restaurants are closed. The city will be strict about parking overnight, Moak said.
"Tonight (Friday) we're going to be very aggressive about parking," Moak said.
Public Service crews will be out in full force to make sure the streets and sidewalks are clear and safe for shoppers and pedestrians today.
If the snowfall total reaches as high as initially expected — between 9 and 12 inches — Moak said Public Service crews would be working overnight.
"We know tonight is going to be a long night for everyone," Moak said. "You have to take care of the storm. It's a necessity to clean it up."
While is the first snowstorm of the year, Moak said, the snow and ice removal budget has already had one whack.
"The cost of sand and salt this year has been huge," the mayor said.
During last week's ice storm, crews put down three applications of salt and sand. As the ice melted and froze again, the mix would need to be put down again.
"This storm really hurt us more than you would think it would have," Moak said.
In Amesbury yesterday, Mayor Thatcher Kezer declared a storm emergency effective at 6 p.m. The emergency entails a parking ban on all town streets to allow Public Works to properly treat and clear roads.
Kezer initially held off with his decision, weighing the predicted storms power with need for downtown parking for shoppers.
During a parking ban, residents are required to clear their cars from the roads. Kezer warned not only downtown needs to be cleared but all side roads, as well, particularly those on hills.
"With heavy snow coming in (tomorrow), we really need the roads clear before the second storm," he said.
Tomorrow's snow is expected to be wetter and heavier, which has Don Swenson, Amesbury's Emergency Management director, on guard.
"It's the heavier snow that can cause more damage," he said.
Around noon yesterday, Kezer was allowing the public works crews some downtime before two predicted storms dumped more than a foot of snow on the region.
"Once this hits, they are going to be working around the clock," Kezer said.