Foxborough Officials Say Blizzard Will Be 'Public Safety Hazard'; Urge People to Take Storm Seriously

Foxborough DPW Director Roger Hill and Police Chief Edward O'Leary urge residents to believe the hype surrounding Friday's blizzard.

The National Weather Service has issued a Blizzard Warning for the Foxborough area from 6 a.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday, calling for 18 to 24 inches of snow to slam the region.

Foxborough Department of Public Works Director Roger Hill and Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary urge residents to believe the hype surrounding Friday's storm.

"This is a big deal," Hill said. "This is a public safety hazard. People say they are just hyping the weather but if I can’t get people out of their houses and the power goes out and stays out, that’s going to be a problem. That could be a catastrophic problem."

Fortunately for Foxborough, Hill has plenty of experience handling major storms. The DPW director recalled plowing the Blizzard of '78.

"We know what a monster storm is and how to handle it and what to do," Hill said. "Nonetheless we are practically powerless when you get 40 inches like the Blizzard."

Hill said with a remniscing smile that it took crews about a week to open up the main and secondary roads from the "Blizzard."

"All that could push the snow were big loaders," Hill said. "Trucks were useless. Some of the biggest trucks I had couldn’t push the snow."

While Friday's storm isn't expected to reach Blizzard of '78 accumulation totals, O'Leary urges the community to pay attention to weather and safety reports.

"I’m really hoping people take this storm seriously and get off the roads and are home by the late afternoon and certainly curtail any non-emergency transportation given the projection of what the storm has," O'Leary said.

O'Leary says the police department spent Thursday readying the cruisers and necessary equipment for the storm as he expects it will be a busy Friday and Saturday for the department.

"If need be we will put on additional staff," O'Leary said. "We will have some crashes because people, even though they grew up here in New England, still don’t know how to drive in the snow."

Hill said the DPW will have over 20 employees and anywhere from 30 to 50 private contractors covering the 88 miles of road in Foxborough during the the storm.

The DPW spent Thursday servicing vehicles, readying generators and attaching equipment. Hill said the focus Friday will be clearing the main and secondary roads first and then moving on to back roads and neighborhoods.

"You have to concentrate on just the main and secondaries up front and then open up the front of the subdivisions after," Hill said.

Foxborough's Emergency Preparedness team for Friday's storm will consist of Hill, O'Leary, Deputy Fire Chief Steve Bagley and Veterans Agent Mike Johns, who is in charge of the evacuation center.

Hill said Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield, who typically serves as the point man during major storms and Town Manager Kevin Paicos are out of town.

Foxborough's Board of Selectmen will meet Friday at 11 a.m. to discuss the town's storm plan and procedure.

While the storm's accumulation is wildly unpredictable, Hill is confident his department is ready for anything.

"The bottom line is those storms can do freak things when you least expect it so you have to play it by ear to a certain extent," Hill said. "When we have a forecast for a big storm like this one – a big storm – we always have to watch the first part of the storm real carefully because you don’t want it to get too far ahead of you. ... My guys are good. They’re really good with snow and ice."

Stay up to date with the latest on this weekend's winter storm by clicking here for our Winter Storm: Foxborough Information Center.

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