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Snow from the impending Boston blizzard hasn’t hit the ground yet, but already, Mayor Tom Menino is telling people to stay off the streets and in the comfort of their homes, declaring a snow emergency effective noon on Friday.

During a press conference on Thursday, the Boston mayor urged non-essential workers to skip showing up because of the potential of two feet of snow dropping in the area due to a massive winter storm.

“I advise everyone to stay home tomorrow and to stay off of the streets tomorrow and Saturday,” Menino said during the press conference with reporters.

Menino asked employers to allow employees to work from home where possible.

What has been labeled a “historic” storm is expected to dump as much as 24-inches of snow on parts of the region starting early Friday morning, and into Saturday.

Snow is expected to fall at a rate of two- to-three inches per hour. A “Blizzard Watch” was put in effect for New England on Wednesday.

Menino also declared that school was cancelled in the city, ahead of most other surrounding towns and communities.

“Keep as many cars off the roadway, and keep the congestion down in the city of Boston, so [DPW workers] can do their job,” said Menino.

If people have to come into the city, which Menino advised against, they are encouraged to take public transportation.

A snow emergency will go into effect for Boston starting at noon on Friday. When a snow emergency is declared, residents with cars are urged to move their vehicles from marked parking spots in the city.

Residents can access a list of open city parking lots in their respective neighborhoods on Boston’s official website. They can leave their vehicles there during the snow emergency, and get access at a discounted price.

“We will have 19 private parking lots and 32 municipal parking lots for people to go to,” according to Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department, Tom Tinlin. “We encourage people to go to and they can park there for the duration of the storm.”

City officials said they are also working with local shelters to make sure the homeless population in Boston is safe, and off of the streets, providing housing during the duration of the anticipated storm.

“Our outreach vans will also be out; they work with Pine Street Inn, and starting tonight they will work with homeless people who may choose to shelter outside, and encourage them to get out of the cold,” said Boston Public Health Commissioner Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

Here are some additional preparations that the MBTA, MassDOT and the city are taking ahead of the blizzard.

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