Snow plows and road salt trucks line up in Somerville preparing to treat the streets. Credit: Erin Tiernan

Happening now:

A number of events planned for Wednesday have been canceled or postponed as a blustery nor'easter continues to pound the Bay State, dropping as much as 2 feet of snow on some regions.

9 a.m. | Department of Transportation Board of Directors meets

10 a.m. | Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities meets virtually to commemorate the late advocate Judy Heumann. Discussion of Gov. Healey's budget proposal and an update on the group's website

10 a.m. | Cannabis Control Commission holds executive session related to the ongoing mediation over governance, a process intended to "more formally delineate the powers of the commissioners and those of the staff," the then-chairman said when the process began

10 a.m. | Middlesex DA Ryan hosts a virtual Opioid Task Force meeting

11:30 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets with just one business item on its agenda: discussion of a promotion offered by Barstool Sportsbook and the options for commission review.

Noon | Governor's Council meets to take care of routine business | Council Chamber

Noon | Joint Committee on Health Care Financing joins the Health Policy Commission to hold a public hearing on potential modifications to the 2024 cost growth benchmark for the average growth in total health care expenditures for calendar 2024. | Gardner Auditorium

12:30 p.m. | Greater Boston Legal Services and the Boston Public Library host "Problem Solving Day" for taxpayers to meet with an Internal Revenue Service taxpayer advocate. Runs through 4:30 p.m. | West Roxbury Branch Library, 1961 Centre St., West Roxbury

1 p.m. | Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern School of Law hosts a webinar on "how the gambling industry misleads regulators and imperils the public's health.....and what we can do about it."

1:30 p.m. | Jane Doe Inc. and Mass. Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence holds virtual event to officially launch advocacy efforts for bills, with plans to "present the intersectional framework driving its advocacy approach and announce its legislative priorities"

Not snow fast! Bay Staters who thought they might escape winter with some of the lowest snowfall totals on record got a blustery reminder of what New England winters can be like when Old Man Winter reared his head bringing a nasty nor’easter that buried parts of western Massachusetts in more than 2 feet of snow.

This last storm, which ended five days before the first day of spring — brought the biggest snowfall of the season for most cities after what has been one of the driest winters on record.

Just last week, headlines at newspapers across the Northeast were decrying this season as “a winterless winter.

This has been the fifth warmest winter on record for Boston — with average temps at 36.7 degrees — compared to normal winter average temps which are below freezing, WBUR reported.  

National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Leatham told MASSterList that the region is still seeing plenty of precipitation, the warmer temperatures have just been a recipe for more rain.

Take Worcester, which before this week had recorded its warmest winter ever with average temperatures of 33.7 degrees, compared to its usual average of 27.4 degrees. Temperatures dropped, blanketing the city in 23 inches of snow — two-thirds of its snowfall for the entire season.

It was a similar scene in Pittsfield, where the storm dumped 22 inches, accounting for one-third of the total snow seen in the western Massachusetts city all winter.

Boston, which usually sees an average of 38.6 inches of snow was at 11.9 inches including the latest snow tallies, according to NWS data.

Government watchdogs have speculated that lower snow total could translate to cost savings for what have traditionally been strapped snow removal budgets — Boston spent roughly $40 million digging out from under the 2015 snowpocalypse.

Boston has spent just $8.85 million of the $23.5 million budgeted for snow and ice removal this year. 

Worcester has seen its snow removal spending drop by about $1 million since 2018.

But Pittsfield Public Works Commissioner Ricardo Morales said the unpredictability of weather and temperatures vary wildly, could mean the effects of human-induced climate change are having an opposite effect. 

“It’s made it much harder to do our jobs,” Morales said. In Western Mass, there has been less snow, but an uptick in ice storms which are roughly twice as costly to treat than traditional snow removal.

“It presents a different challenge in terms of the budget,” he said. Pittsfield has already spent about $1.2 million on snow and ice removal this winter. The latest storm would cost at least $150,000, Morales said.

Send tips to Erin Tiernan For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

MBTA watch 🚇

Days since the last derailment, fire, or critical incident: 0

Slow zones keep travel times at half speed along much of the subway lines.

Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 268

On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 69 days without either being filled.

Shades of snowmageddon: Up to 36 inches of snow dumped in Mass.

Some Massachusetts cities and towns were blanked by more than 2 feet of snow in this latest storm that comes at the end of one of the driest winters on record. Colrain in Franklin County clocked in with the highest total snowfall of 36 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

MassLive | The Boston Globe

Gaming Commission addresses gambling violations as mobile sports betting takes off

The state’s Gaming Commission turned its attention this week to its first enforcement action since the new industry was made legal, writes Matthew Medsger for the Boston Herald.

Colin A. Young for State House News writes Massachusetts was the fifth busiest mobile betting state in the country last weekend with more than 400,000 mobile sports betting accounts activated and more than 8 million transactions.

The Boston Herald | State House News

And then there were 3: Boston police fire three officers

Three Boston police officers have been fired from the department, city officials revealed this week — two of whom made inappropriate social media posts about the Jan. 6 insurrection, and a third who spearheaded the pushback against Mayor Michelle Wu’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, writes Emma Platoff of The Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe

Boston drops COVID vax mandate for firefighters, some cops

The Wu administration has agreed to formally drop its vaccine mandate for firefighters and police superior officers, and it’s evaluating what to do next with its vax policy, writes the Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter. The unions, in exchange, will drop their labor relations complaints.

The Boston Herald | The Boston Globe

SJC openings to pile up this year

Judge Thomas Drechsler is due to retire Wednesday after eight years on the bench, according to the governor’s judicial nominations office, creating the second court vacancy of Gov. Maura Healey’s administration — and without a mechanism in place to start putting new judges in robes.

Healey has yet to name members to a Judicial Nominating Commission, a panel that governors set up soon after starting their terms, writes Sam Doran of State House News.

State House News

No answer: Legislature ignores Auditor DiZoglio’s request

Legislative leaders, with whom state Auditor Diana DiZoglio publicly clashed as a member of both the House and Senate, last week either ignored or mostly brushed aside the auditor’s announcement that her office intends to scrutinize the operations of the Legislature, which she said historically “has been a closed-door operation.”

State House News Service

Paying off: Gift cards for vaccines helped close gaps, state says 

A program that dangled $75 gift cards to boost vaccination rates in 20 Bay State cities and towns with stubbornly low uptake rates has paid out $5.2 million and administered 70,000 shots–and is having the desired effect, a new report says. Christian Wade of the Eagle-Tribune has the details.

The Eagle Tribune

Work remains: Coogan touts Fall River’s progress as re-election looms 

Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan used his state of the city address to tout the progress he says the city has made on some long-term problems like police staffing and stabilizing the city’s finances and also lay out his vision for what could be a development boom sparked by the arrival of SouthCoast rail.

Herald News

Cape and Islands DA cited for failing to report car crash

Police in Barnstable have cited new Cape and Island District Attorney Robert Galibois for failing to report a car crash he was involved in last month. The DA, who took office in January, said in a statement he takes responsibility for the traffic violations he was also cited for, including making an improper turn. 

The Boston Globe The Boston Herald

Springfield City Councilor calls for rail-safety confab after Ohio derailment 

Springfield City Councilor Sean F. Curran is calling for an emergency preparedness hearing to address what will happen in the event of a train derailment that involves hazardous materials. MassLive’s Jonah Snowden reports Curran wants to know if the city’s first responders have everything they need to respond effectively in light of what rail cars might be carrying.


Send tips to Erin Tiernan For advertising and general inquiries, contact Dylan RossiterPublisher@MASSterList.comClick here to post a job on the MASSterList Job Board. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

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MASSterList editor Erin Tiernan is an award-winning reporter who brings a decade's worth of experience covering state and local politics from the halls of the State House to city streets. Her work can be found in The Boston Herald, The Patriot Ledger, MassLive and Wicked Local. She was the New England Newspaper and Press Association's 2019 Reporter of the Year.