BOSTON — The fourth winter storm to strike New England in the past month dumped up to 18 inches of snow on the winter-weary region Friday ahead of a weekend freeze that could see the wind chill dip to 40 degrees below zero.
The fast-moving storm struck early in southern New England and led officials to declare snow emergencies, cancel school and impose parking bans even before it arrived. The emergency restrictions were lifted early in the afternoon when the storm began clearing.
Nine inches of snow fell on Milbury and North Grafton in eastern Massachusetts. Cape Cod started off with less than 2 inches of snow that later was washed away by rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Rebecca Gould said. Boston received 7.3 inches.
Several Boston-area streets were closed because of flooding. Speed on the Massachusetts Turnpike was reduced and authorities restricted transportation of propane on the highway from New York to protect public safety, state police said.
Parts of northern New England still were receiving snow Friday evening with some areas expected to absorb 8 to 10 inches of snow overnight.
Maine appeared to be hardest hit in northern New England. Medway had seen the most snow with 18.5 inches. Houlton and Deer Isle had 13 inches of snow by Friday night, while Bangor received about a foot of the powder. About 7.3 inches had fallen around the Camden area.
On Friday, blowing snow caused a whiteout on Interstate 95 in New Hampshire that led to a crash among two tractor-trailers, a fuel track and about 15 other vehicles. In Boston, a Massachusetts State Police trooper traveling to the scene of an accident on the turnpike was hurt when his stationary cruiser was struck from behind.
Weather worries were expected to turn to the thermostat over the weekend as temperatures well below zero were forecast for much of New England.
“It’s going to be very frigid, particularly Sunday night and Monday,” Gould said.
In southern New England, the coldest region will be Franklin County, in Massachusetts, and the frigid zone will extend into southern New Hampshire, where temperatures are expected to be 20 degrees below zero, she said.
“And that’s just the temperature. That’s not even factoring in any wind or anything,” Gould said.
On Sunday, temperatures in Boston are expected to fall to zero degrees — or below. The last time that occurred was Jan. 22, 2005, Gould said.
The wind chill will make temperatures feel like 15 degree below zero in Boston and possibly 30 degrees below zero in Franklin County and southern New Hampshire before sunrise Monday, she said.
“And that’s not going to be a lot of wind. It will be 10 to 15 mph gusts, and it will still be that cold,” she said.
Conditions will be more severe in northern New England.
“On Sunday, high temperatures will struggle to reach zero in the valleys. And in the mountains, the highest will only be, like, 5 below zero,” meteorologist Eric Evanson said.
“Then Sunday night temperatures, the minimum temperatures, you are looking at 30 to 40 below in the mountains, and 10 to 20 below in the larger valleys.”
Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island emergency officials warned residents to dress properly for the weather to avoid frostbite and keep space heaters away from items that could catch on fire.
In Connecticut, Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced that six warming centers would be open over the weekend to help needy residents fend off the freezing temperatures.