New Bedford is about to get hit with its first major snowstorm of the season, and it's shaping up to be the bomb--blizzardbomb, that is.

Mayor Jon Mitchell discussed the storm in his weekly appearance on WBSM, and said that despite all the media hype about the storm, the City of New Bedford is taking the storm seriously.

"We've been looking at it for a few days," he said. "I think we'll be very well prepared for the storm, but even though we are prepared, there are still steps people are going to have to take."

The mayor said "every storm is different," and said cold temperatures both before and after Thursday's storm have the potential to cause extra problems.

"It's been cold for a while, and the catch basins around the city all have frozen water inside," he said. "So when more water flows in, it's not going to go anywhere, so we might have some street flooding."

He also said the cold temperatures after the storm could create a lot of ice, which could lead to falling branches, downed power lines and the possibility for power outages.

"It also means our roadways, despite the City's best efforts--and very effective efforts--are going to be link hockey rinks for the next few days, until I guess it's going to warm up on Monday," he said. "So people should stay off the roads. The more you can do that, the more we appreciate it and the more safe everybody will be."

Mitchell predicts that if residents obey the parking ban, and with schools closed on Thursday, crews should be able to get roads and walkways cleared quickly.

"I anticipate we'll have the roads cleared, but I also anticipate really icy roads Friday, Saturday and Sunday," he said. "But they'll be cleared of snow, and we'll be able to get back up and running on Friday, slowly."

The Sister Rose House overflow has been open consistently throughout the cold weather, and Mitchell said he can't remember a time when it's been open as much and as early as it has this year.

"It's really hard to take care of folks out in the cold," he said. "If you're aware of people out on the street, tell them to get in there, or if you need to, call the polic eand the police will see to it that we get them some shelter. We want to make sure that we take care of everybody."

Mitchell said the Army Corps of Engineers will make a decision as to whether or not to close the hurricane barrier, but he said it's likely to happen.

"They close it if the water gets four feet above mean high tide," he said. "We're expecting some rough seas and some high winds, so it wouldn't surprise me if they have to do that."

The mayor also said newly-appointed Director of Emergency Management Brian Nobrega will be working closely with MEMA throughout the storm.

Mitchell said that municipal crews have the plowing routes and methods "choreographed" for maximum efficiency, but he still said that whenever the City implements a snow plan, he has to be mindful of the budget.

"The two biggest expenses associated with snowstorms are the cost of the salt and the other chemicals that we put down on the roadways, and the overtime for the guys actually out there working," he sid. "The good news is, wearing my budget hat, they probably won't be plowing until about 7 in the morning, and that's when the regular shift starts anyway."

Mitchell, who was just sworn in for his fourth term in office on Monday, said prior to being mayor, he had no idea the intricacies of how the city handles a storm like this one.

"Dealing with snowstorms is as much of an art as it is a science, and you really have to have a feel for it," he said.

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