Mass. Declares State of Emergency, Bans Travel after 4:00 p.m.


BOSTON (WGGB/AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency and banned travel on roads as of 4 p.m. as a blizzard that could bring nearly 3 feet of snow to the region began to intensify.

Patrick said as the storm gains strength it will bring “extremely dangerous conditions” with bands of snow dropping up to two to three inches per hour at the height of the blizzard, prompting whiteout conditions.

Patrick said the travel ban will apply statewide and bans all motor vehicle traffic on all state roads until the ban is lifted. The ban doesn’t apply to public safety workers and utility workers, or employees of other public and private sectors that provide critical services, like health care, hospitals, and fuel.

The Mass. Emergency Management Agency provides this explanation of the exceptions:

“There are exceptions for public safety vehicles and public safety workers, including contract personnel; public works vehicles and public works workers, including contract personnel; government officials conducting official business; utility company vehicles and utility workers; healthcare workers who must travel to and from work in order to provide essential health services; news media; travel necessary to maintain and deliver critical private sector services such as energy, fuel supplies and delivery, financial systems and the delivery of critical commodities; travel to support business operations that provide critical services to the public, including gasoline stations, food stores and hardware stores.”

With the ban, the Governor wants to “emphasize how critical it is that non-essential travel cease.”

The penalty during a State of Emergency, under the Civil Defense Act, is punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or one year in jail.

Richard Davey, secretary of transporation, says that the toll-takers on the Mass. Pike are being sent home at 2:00 p.m. He also says that 1,600 pieces of equipment ready to clear the state’s roadways, and he says that number will reach about 4,000.

One thousand National Guard members have already been mobilized, and Patrick expects that number to climb to about 5,000 as the storm continues to churn over the region.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan says that his agency has been in constant contact with utility crews and that many of them are beginning to implement their storm response plans, which were required to be filed with the state 72 hours ahead of a storm’s arrival.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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  • whittle650

    Super illegal…

  • shawnm2

    He’s the Governor he can do as wishes to protect the people….

    • shimie

      Really? Did you just say that??? The Governor may not just “do as he pleases”. He is an elected official The executive order power was granted the high ranking executive office to be used with great reserve in extremes. Now the Connecticut Governor followed suit. You do not speak to, behave like, or hoard over your constituents an authoritarian attitude. The fact that you are not alarmed in the least by the action or the language just goes to show how very little the newer generations understands about what it takes to remain a people with rights and privileges.

      • alpinequeen

        I wouldn’t go out in this storm but the idea of being told I can’t is unsettling to say the least.

  • Emar1970

    Well I drive a propain tanker and thank God I’m not on call this weekend because we still have to go if out if called

  • alpinequeen

    I wouldn’t go out in this storm but the idea of being told I can’t is unsettling.

  • shawnm2

    @alpinequeen you should love this weather since your an alpine queen aka skier

  • chill8501

    Really just let him do his job and shut up. If he didn’t warn people off the road you all would be complaining that he doesn’t care if people get hurt. You probably shouldn’t be out joy riding in a storm anyways just common sense.