BOSTON (AP) -- All nonessential state workers were sent home early Tuesday as a snowstorm bearing down on Massachusetts intensified.
State Secretary William Galvin, who is serving as acting governor while Gov. Deval Patrick wraps up a trade mission in Asia, also asked private employers in the greater Boston area to consider releasing employees early.
Galvin said additional MBTA service would be provided and the Southeast Expressway's HOV lane opened to help ease the afternoon commute.
A handful of schools were closed Tuesday, including in Medford. Several planned to close early, including schools in Worcester, North Andover and Framingham. The Boston public schools canceled after-school activities.
Boston, the metro area and central Massachusetts could get 4 to 8 inches of snow Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. Southeastern and western Massachusetts could see from 3 to 6 inches, while Cape Cod could get around 2 to 4 inches.
Authorities warned of a difficult afternoon commute. The weather service said snow could be falling at a rate of one inch per hour during the evening trip home, making driving hazardous.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino also encouraged those in the city to consider using public transportation for their evening commute or consider staying past the evening commute to make it easier for public works crews to plow streets.
Parking bans were in effect in some communities.