Boston may get as much as 8 inches of snow — and Tuesday morning’s commute will be difficult

Maddie Alexander, 14, right, put her hands up to block a snowball from her brother Collin, 16, during a snowball fight as they enjoyed a snow day away from school Monday in Wilmington.
Maddie Alexander, 14, right, put her hands up to block a snowball from her brother Collin, 16, during a snowball fight as they enjoyed a snow day away from school Monday in Wilmington. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A second wintry blast is expected to bring about a half-foot of snow to the Boston area Tuesday, prompting schools to close and likely making for a treacherous morning commute.

Forecasters said bands of heavy snow were possible across much of Eastern Massachusetts between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.

In some places, snow could fall at the rate of an inch or two an hour, officials said.

“It would be really terrific if people can avoid driving during the heaviest periods of snowfall” around dawn Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker said at a news conference Monday evening.

Later Monday night, Baker announced a delayed start for non-emergency executive branch employees on Tuesday. Those employees will start at 10 a.m., as “road crews and public safety officials respond to the ongoing winter storm.”


Wind gusts could reach 40 miles per hour, forecasters said.

Boston and the North Shore could receive between 4 inches and 8 inches of snow, forecasters said, while Worcester, Plymouth, and Taunton would receive slightly less.

Snowfall will hinge on the storm’s track, forecasters said. If the storm tracks farther offshore, accumulations will be lower.

Western Massachusetts, which was hit hard during the first wave of the storm, will see less accumulation on Tuesday, with Greenfield, Amherst, Pittsfield, and North Adams predicted to be coated with about 3 inches of snow, forecasters said.

The town of Rowe in Franklin County had received more than 16 inches of snow since the storm arrived Sunday.

The timing of the storm prompted many public school districts to cancel school Tuesday, including Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Everett, Somerville, Lynn, Newton, Chelsea, and Malden.

“We are expecting the height of the storm tonight and tomorrow morning, and have made the decision to close schools tomorrow for the safety of our students,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston said in a statement Monday.


The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through noon Tuesday, saying travel “could be very difficult.”

The service advised travelers to keep a flashlight, food, and water in their car in case of an emergency.

The MBTA operated on a regular schedule Monday and some delays were reported on the commuter rail, especially after a train became disabled at South Station.

In a statement, Keolis, the company that operates the Commuter Rail, said storm response will continue throughout the night Monday.

The rail’s Emergency Operations Center will be staffed 24-7 until the storm ends, the company said, and some 350 Keolis and T employees are “pre-positioned” to respond to weather-related incidents such as downed trees.

MBTA officials said they will be ready to keep the subway system running.

“Snow removal equipment will be staged at strategic locations around the subway and commuter rail lines to expedite snow clearing operations,” the T said.

“Observation trains equipped with plows will operate all night long to prevent snow from building up on tracks and switches,” it added.

T officials also urged the public to be mindful of icy conditions.

“Because the 75-year-old trolley cars on the Mattapan Line are highly susceptible to the impacts of heavy snowfall, the MBTA may have to replace trolley service with buses in the morning,” the statement said. “If such a suspension of service is necessary, the MBTA will make an announcement well in advance.”

Emily Sweeney, John R. Ellement, and Travis Andersen of Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.