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City, residents prepare for heavy snow expected this afternoon, tomorrow morning

Water? Check. Toilet paper? Check. Jelly doughnuts and chicken nuggets? Check, and, with a squeal of delighted anticipation, check.

Jim Pvirre of Pittsfield is not looking forward to the snowstorm forecast for today and tomorrow. The weather – between 18 and 24 inches of snow in Concord by midday tomorrow – will likely derail the scheduled installation of cable at his family’s new home, which means Pvirre will miss the Bruins game. But his stepdaughters, 5-year-old Riley Miner and 6-year-old Makayla Howard, were giddy about the snow, and about the special treats they picked up yesterday at Market Basket in Concord.

“I got everything for Italian grinders, too, in case we lose power and we can’t use the stove,” Pvirre said. “I don’t want to have to go anywhere Saturday. It’ll just be movies on the Blu-ray all day for us, which is too bad, because I missed the game (Wednesday), too.”

Staying off the roads is exactly what officials from the city and the National Weather Service recommend for this afternoon and tomorrow.

Snow is expected to start in the early hours this morning, falling faster as the day continues, according to meteorologist Margaret Curtis at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Winds in the Concord area will average between 10 and 20 mph today and tomorrow, with some gusts of up to 30 mph possible, she said.

“The combination of wind and snow is what will make travel the most difficult, since it is a lot of snow expected,” she said. “If you have an option not to be on the road Friday night or Saturday, don’t. I especially wouldn’t want to be on the road after dark, which at this time of year is about 4.”

Concord is in the middle of an area forecast to get 18 to 24 inches of snow, the most since the Halloween storm of 2011, she said.

“For better or worse, what we have is two systems merging. If one of them completely disappeared, we’d still get hit. Some places will be the real winners with more than 2 feet,” she said. “It’s not often I can say the places getting 1 foot of snow are at the low end of the totals.”

Concord Highway and Utilities Superintendent Jim Major said yesterday he expected to announce a parking ban overnight tonight and possibly overnight tomorrow, as the city usually does when more than 5 or 6 inches of snow accumulates.

“If we can get the cars off the street, it will give us time and room to get it all done,” he said.

Fairpoint Communications, PSNH and Unitil all released statements yesterday detailing their preparations for the storm and reminding customers to report outages, use caution with generators and stay away from downed electrical and telephone lines.

PSNH reported additional line crews are being staged in the Seacoast and southeastern regions of the state, where the highest winds and snow fall totals are expected.

Whether it’s snow or wind, Sheila Heselton said yesterday she expects to lose power at her Hopkinton home, which is surrounded by pine trees.

She loaded her cart with bottled water – a 24-pack of small bottles and several gallon jugs – and will fill the bathtub with water for keeping the toilet running.

Also in her cart: cereal, flashlights and ingredients for soup.

“I’ll make them up tonight so we have things we can just heat on the little stove outside,” she said. While she doubted the snowfall would reach the high end of the forecasts, she felt compelled to stock up: “Better safe than sorry.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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