State braces for up to foot of snow

The city has barely put away lawn mowers and leaf blowers but the snow plows and sanders are being fueled up and rolled out as the Hub prepares for the first snow of what could be a very long winter.

A foot of snow is forecast for Western Massachusetts with 2 to 6 inches in Greater Boston. The snow is expected to begin falling in the afternoon and turn heavy just before sunset.

“We’re ready. Thankfully it’s on a weekend so we’ll ease ourselves into a new season,” said Dot Joyce, spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “People should gear up because we’ve got a long season ahead of us.”

Joyce said the city’s Department of Public Works is preparing to clear the streets as a snow storm rolls up the east coast, threatening to dump several inches on Boston. Menino warned residents to secure outdoor furniture, use caution on icy streets and stock up on sand and salt.

“Mother Nature has chosen trick over treat this Halloween and winter is coming early,” the mayor said. “The city is preparing for potentially high winds and heavy, wet snow and we are urging residents to do the same.”

The snow may be putting a damper on weekend foliage and youth sports plans but skiers are rejoicing as Killington in Vermont is slated to open for the season today — just weeks after taking a beating from Hurricane Irene. With nine inches of new snow Thursday and more expected today, the opening equals the earliest on record, which was Oct. 29, 2005.

“This is the best thing that could happen,” said Killington spokeswoman Sarah Thorson. “Everyone here at Killington is just thrilled.”

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