Share “Scenes and snapshots from the Mass. snowstorm”

Scenes and snapshots from the Mass. snowstorm

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm •  Published: February 9, 2013
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BOSTON (AP) — A collection of vignettes and news items, compiled by Associated Press reporters and photographers around Massachusetts during the storm that brought more than 2 feet of snow to some parts of the state and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands:

TOUGH TRAVEL

Gov. Deval Patrick banned drivers from the roads for 24 hours, from 4 p.m. Friday afternoon to 4 p.m. Saturday (those in western Massachusetts and Nantucket got a reprieve slightly earlier.) He said the decision meant emergency crews only had to rescue a few dozen stranded drivers.

"All of us were trying to take lessons from other experiences, including the blizzard of '78," he said. In that storm, a travel ban wasn't in place till after the snow hit, and thousands of cars were already stranded. This time, most people were safely at their destinations before the snow started.

Now, Patrick said, people need to be patient while things start to get back to normal. They should stay off the roads if they can even though driving is now permitted.

"We have a lot of snow to dispose of and remove, and it will take some time to do that," he said.

The MBTA, which suspended service at 3:30 Friday and did not plan to resume it Saturday, may run some subway trains Sunday, but the goal is to restore full service by the Monday morning commute. A communications tower in Quincy went down during the storm, making full restoration of service a challenge.

Logan International Airport hoped to open a runway by 11 p.m. and said people planning to travel Sunday should contact their airlines for updates. Amtrak canceled New York to Boston service Saturday.

TRAGEDY

The Boston fire department said an 11-year-old boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning after being overcome as he sat in a running car to keep warm, while his father was shoveling snow to get the car out of a snow bank.

Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the boy was helping his father shovel the snow in the Dorchester neighborhood Saturday but got cold, so his father started the car and the boy got inside. MacDonald said the car exhaust was covered by a snow bank, causing the fumes to collect in the vehicle.

When the boy was overcome by the fumes, the father went into respiratory arrest and emergency workers took both to Boston Medical Center. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. No names were released.

EVACUATIONS

More than 40 people had to be evacuated from about a dozen homes along the coast in Salisbury on Saturday morning because of tidal flooding that came with the storm. Forecasts only called for moderate swells, so residents were not told to leave Friday night.

Ed and Nancy Bemis were watching the impressive waves from their first-floor apartment when one smashed through, blowing out the door and knocking it on top of Nancy.

"After the wave hit, the next thing I remember, the door was on my back and I'm under saltwater," she said. She had a butterfly bandage on her head but was not badly injured.

Ed Bemis described objects in the house flying everywhere.

"If you went in there, it looks like two big guys got in a big, big fight," he said. "It tore the doors right off their hinges. It's a mess."

Because of water on the road, some people had to be taken out of their homes in the buckets of front-end loaders, including resident Kelly Hochmuth. An emergency medical technician carried Hochmuth's 6-week-old baby out separately.

"The EMT had to come and take the baby, which was totally heartbreaking," she said, though the separation was brief. Later Saturday, Hochmuth, the Bemises and their neighbors were passing the time socializing and reading at the town senior center. It could be days before they can go home.

"People in a shelter get very impatient very fast," said town emergency director Bob Cook. "Nobody wants to be in a shelter, I understand that."

The National Guard also helped evacuate coastal residents in other parts of the state.

TRYING TO KEEP WARM

"This is crazy. I mean it's just nuts," said Eileen O'Brien, 56, of blacked-out Sagamore Beach, Mass., clearing heavy snow from her deck for fear it might collapse.

As the pirate flag outside her door snapped and popped in gale-force winds Saturday, she pointed to the snowman she'd built 16 hours earlier, when her mood and the snow were both lighter — and the Upper Cape village still had power.

"My thermostat keeps dropping. Right now it's 54 inside, and I don't have any wood," said O'Brien, a respiratory care practitioner. "There's nothing I can do to keep warm except maybe start the grill and make some coffee."

CROWDS GATHER

The streets of Boston were mostly empty Saturday morning because of the waist-high snow. Plows that had gone through made some streets passable but piled even more snow atop cars parked on the city's narrow streets.

Wind blew huge chunks of snow and slush from the tops of skyscrapers and they landed with a thunk, a startling sound in the quiet. Roads were not plowed in Financial District, a low priority because workers were off for the weekend.

As the afternoon approached and the wind died down and snow tapered off, residents began to emerge and were out taking photographs in public spaces like Copley Square and Boston Common. The crowd was similar to what it usually is on other days.

But because sidewalks were impassable, they walked or cross-country skied down streets, making the job harder for plow drivers.

GETTING THROUGH IT

Westborough, in eastern Worcester County, was buried by about two feet of snow. Most residents said they hadn't seen a storm like this, at least not since the blizzard of 1978. Worcester had some of the highest snow totals in the state.

"I survived the blizzard of '78, I can survive this," said Steve Fouracre, 44. "I'm waiting for all these plows to do their work. They'll probably be done just in time for work Monday. Yeah, thanks," he added sarcastically.

Some people were already at work Saturday morning. While most downtown businesses were closed, Christina's Cafe on South Street opened at 6 a.m. as usual to serve breakfast to snow plow operators. Owner Mag Amin, 42, defied the driving ban to commute from his home in Berlin. "I worried a bit, but I figured I could make it," Amin said. "I drove slowly, and it was OK. You just need some determination."

Kim Lupien, 44, was the only one of Amin's six waitresses who made it to work, climbing through snow drifts from her home nearby. "People expect us to be open, so we're open," she shrugged. Lupien added that she grew up in Maine, where storms like this are common. "That's why it doesn't affect me much."

Carol Gagnon, 56, ventured out to buy the newspaper — and "to keep from going stir-crazy." She was planning to head out on snow shoes later, an activity that last year's mild winter didn't allow. But Gagnon was also looking forward to getting back on the road.

"Hopefully this is it for the winter," she said. "This is enough!"

A NEW ARRIVAL

The Massachusetts National Guard and Worcester emergency workers teamed up to deliver a baby at the height of the storm.

Maj. Gen. Scott Rice said Saturday that the baby arrived at about 3 a.m. and everyone was fine. He didn't release details about the family.

He said the guard had emergency vehicles in Worcester to help local public safety because of hilly terrain and heavy snowfall. About 28.5 inches were reported in the central Massachusetts city.

Rice said a National Guard ambulance with a medic took a Worcester EMT to the family's house and they worked together to deliver the baby.

"You can't get much better than that," he said.

IN THE DARK

At the height of the storm, more than 400,000 people were without power, but those numbers were starting to drop as the snow slowed Saturday afternoon.

Most were in southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, where there was wet heavy snow and winds gusting over 75 mph.

National Grid Massachusetts president Marcy Reed said hardest hit areas of Norfolk and Plymouth counties may be offline for a few days. She said outages haven't topped recent storms such as Sandy and Irene.

An NStar spokesman also said some customers are likely to be out for several days.

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth shut down after losing off-site power. Authorities said there was no threat to public safety.

FEELING FORTUNATE

In Quincy, Tiffanie Williams, 41, said she was grateful her electricity came back on at 10:30 a.m. She was hosting a friend who wasn't as fortunate in the afternoon.

"Just watching the snow accumulate from my condo balcony was amazing and I didn't lose power until 10:30 p.m.," Williams said. "I was thankful that I had power until then. I feel very fortunate it was restored in about 12 hours."

Williams said the roads around Quincy Center, the city's downtown, looked pretty clear and she praised the city's snow removal efforts, which started with plowers early in the morning. City Council members left voicemail messages on residents' phones and used social media to give instructions on how to stay safe.

Some brave residents came outside to take pictures of the snow mountains, children played in snow that was taller than them and others tried to dig out their cars.

"I keep moving to stay warm," said Michael Levesque, a snow removal worker for Environmentally Designed Landscape, while he was removing snow from residents' doors in a condo development so they would no longer be trapped inside.

He said the EDL crew started at 5 a.m. and by 12:30 p.m. had cleared five houses and had started on a condo development.

"It's been tough," Levesque said. "It's like lifting cement. They say its 2 feet, but I think it's more like 3 feet."

___

Associated Press writers Jay Lindsay in Salisbury, Amy Crawford in Westborough, Bill Kole in Sagamore Beach, Ebony Reed in Quincy and Sylvia Wingfield in Boston and photographer Charles Krupa in Boston contributed to this report.


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