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Mayor Kos issues state of emergency before snowstorm

CHICOPEE  – Mayor Richard J. Kos, joined by city and public safety officials, issued an emergency declaration on Monday afternoon, hours before a winter storm moved up the east coast.
Kos conducted a City Hall briefing. A large screen projected the storm’s track, as the large weather mass climbed in a north by northeast direction. The region was expecting upwards to two feet of snow,with higher accumulations likely in the Boston area. Though final counts tallied closer to one foot of snow in Western Mass.  READ MORE

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Mayor Kos issues state of emergency before massive snow storm

By Dennis P. Hohenberger
Turley Publications Correspondent

CHICOPEE -- Mayor Richard J. Kos, joined by city and public safety officials, issued an emergency declaration on Monday afternoon, hours before a massive winter storm moved up the East Coast.
Kos conducted a City Hall briefing. A large screen projected the storm's track, as the large weather mass climbed in a north by northeast direction. The region was expecting upwards to two-feet of snow,with higher accumulations likely in the Boston-area.
Kos implored residents to "stay off" streets, allowing for DPW and emergency crews room to conduct operations or rescues.
He added the early emergency declaration was the first step in assuring access to federal emergency dollars, which might be needed for clean up operations and other expenses tied to the storm.
Such declarations are issued if "public action is needed to prevent, minimize, or mitigate damage to public health, safety, or general welfare of the people of City of Chicopee."
Department of Public Works Director Jeffrey Neece said road crews pre-treated city streets before the storm hit. Sanding and plowing crews readied for the storm to hit.
Forecasters described the storm's strength as historical. Light flakes began to fall in Chicopee shortly before 4 p.m. On Monday, stores and supermarkets were overrun by shoppers, who stacked shopping carts with toilet paper, bread, milk, batteries and other items to ride out the storm.
School Superintendent Richard W. Rege Jr., said the School Department was taking a "wait and see" approach in whether schools would open on Wednesday. The decision on school closures was expected by early-Tuesday morning.
Rege said his main focus on staff, student and teacher and teacher safety.
Fire Chief Stephen Burkott asked for the public helps in clearing around fire hydrants. He suggested residents replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries.
The fire department coordinated emergency calls with DPW and other city departments.
The fire department added a second ambulance.
With assistance from the Chicopee Police Department, towing commenced at 9 p.m., on Monday. The city's state of emergency went into effect six hours earlier, which triggered a 6 p.m., parking ban.
Gov. Charlie D. Baker proclaimed a state of emergency early on Monday. Effective midnight the Commonwealth banned non-emergency travel on roads and highways.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency expected blizzard conditions, coupled with coastal flooding, felled trees, power outages, beach erosion and property damage.
The state planned to provide updates throughout the coming days.
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