[Update 7:24 p.m. - The city has lifted the snow emergency and parking ban as of 8 p.m. Saturday]
As the historic February 2013 blizzard winds down, Newton city officials are urging residents to stay home, if possible, as crews continue to clear roads, sidewalks and municipal parking lots.
"If [residents] do not need to be out, please stay home," Mayor Setti Warren told Newton Patch this afternoon. "We have a lot of work to do."
The city-wide parking ban and snow emergency will remain in effect for the time being, officials said, and the city's emergency operations center at Newton Fire Headquarters will also be in place through Sunday morning.
Newton DPW Commissioner Dave Turocy reported Saturday that all streets are open and passable, although some are still very narrow and more clearing needs to be done.
The municipal lots still have not been plowed, Turocy added, and crews will continue working through tonight and into early Sunday morning.Looking for more weather updates from Newton Patch? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our email newsletters.
Newton Police will provide an update on the parking ban when streets and lots are cleared enough for parked cars, officials sad.
During a Newton snow emergency, all cars must be parked off the street and out of municipal lots. Cars left on the streets and in municipal lots will be ticketed and towed.
If residents decide to venture out on foot, Newton Police Capt. Edward Boudreau reminded pedestrians to be cautious, as some sidewalks are still not shoveled and snow banks are very high, making it hard for drivers to see around corners.
Intersections are particularly dangerous right now due to the high snow banks, officials said, and drivers should take caution if they decide to hit the roads.Follow the latest on the storm in the Newton Patch Storm Center.
Safety at home
As the cleanup continues in the city, Newton Fire Chief Bruce Proia and Health and Human Services Commissioner Dori Zaleznik underlined several safety precautions residents should keep in mind while clearing snow around their homes.
- Homeowners should make sure to clear vents around the home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, Proia said. Newton emergency responders have already received one call today for possible carbon monoxide poisoning due to a heating system backing into a home.
- When it comes to snowblowers, Proia reminded residents not to reach into the snowblowers to clear out snow or ice, as the city had one call earlier today for a snowblower-related injury.
- With the wet snow, Zaleznik reminded residents to "take it slow and take a lot of breaks" while shoveling. If a resident has a heart condition, he/she should not shovel. The city of Newton has compiled a list of local residents willing to shovel.
- Clearing fire hydrants around homes is also important Proia added, as it could save the firefighters time if they have to respond to the residence for a fire. "[Clearing hydrants] will go a long way toward public safety in the city," Proia said.
Tree damage, power outages minimal
Unlike some of the recent storms in the city, Newton did not suffer a lot of tree damage during this blizzard, according to Parks & Recreation Commissioner Bob DeRubeis. Most tree damage included limbs and branches only, and all streets are passable as of Saturday afternoon, DeRubeis said.
"We're in good shape," DeRubeis said.
Power outages were also minimal during the storm, according to Chief Operating Officer Bob Rooney. NSTAR reported less than 100 outages to the city earlier today, Rooney said.
With the potential for no heat, the city will keep a close eye on the status of those without power, Rooney said.
As of 2:45 p.m., only 9 NSTAR customers in Newton were without power, according to NSTAR's outage map.