March 9, 2013

Storm dumps foot of snow on sections of New England

The Associated Press

WHITMAN, Mass. — A slow-moving storm centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of New England, caused coastal flooding that washed away a home in Massachusetts, and turned Friday commutes into slushy crawls.

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A house on the Plum Island seacoast in Newbury, Mass., sits partially collapsed into the churning surf, driven by winds from a slow-moving ocean storm at high tide Friday. The storm dropped up to a foot of snow on some parts of New England.

The Associated Press

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A Subaru Outback is rolled over on Route 20 in Charlton, Mass., near the Sturbridge line, blocking part of the westbound lane Friday.

The Associated Press

Flooding from the storm, which buried parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic in deep snow this week before sweeping northward, closed some coastal roads north and south of Boston. An unoccupied home north of the city collapsed into the ocean as waves battered it.

The snow made for a slippery commute Friday as far south as Pennsylvania and New York, where the National Weather Service said New York City could see up to 6 inches of accumulation before the snow tapered off around 6 p.m.

Thousands of homes and businesses lacked power, and schools across New England remained closed.

Some districts, including Boston, were criticized for holding classes despite icy sidewalks and poorly plowed roads as snow totals rose much higher than expected.

The district eventually said students would get credit for attending classes Friday even if they were absent. The weather service reported nearly 13 inches of snow at Logan International Airport as of 1 p.m., with as much as 22 inches in some parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

"This is a heavier-than-projected snowfall which made this morning's commute if anyone was in it -- and I was -- a mess," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said at a briefing.

With spring less than two weeks away, Lisa Parisella of Beverly, Mass., had been ready to dig out her sandals. Instead, she found herself donning her winter boots for a trip to the grocery store to make sure she had enough food for her kids, whose classes were canceled.

"This was unexpected," said Parisella, 47, an office manager. Forecasts had called for between 1 and 8 inches of snow, and she expected a total on the lower end. Instead, Beverly had well over a foot by noon, and snow continued to fall.

"I was ready to start decorating for spring," she said. "I was thinking, March, ready to take out the sandals, and I'm taking out the boots again."

Tim Wicker, a self-employed 32-year-old resident of Norwich, Conn., said the latest storm wasn't too bad, but he was also longing for spring.

"The other day I was out in a T-shirt," Wicker said. "Now we're dealing with this again. It's going to be 54 on Sunday. It's just New England."

In Scituate, Mass., about 20 miles south of Boston, police Chief Brian Stewart breathed a sigh of relief Friday morning after high tide. The town got some coastal flooding and eight roads were closed under 2 to 3 feet of water.

"It's coming over the usual spots," he said. "I would say we were fortunate because at this point we have no reports of injuries or major damage."

Residents of coastal roads evacuated voluntarily, with about 10 staying at a town shelter and the rest filling up a local hotel.

In Whitman, which had nearly a foot of snow by 10 a.m., Maureen Chittick's house was among those that lost electricity for a while. Grandchildren Nicole Clark, 15, and Gary Clark, 13, came inside for an old-fashioned game with marbles after shoveling the snow out of her driveway.

"I was shoveling and I saw purple flowers underneath," Nicole Clark said. "I thought to myself, 'Summer is never going to come.' I just want summer. Bring on the hot, the beach!"

On Cape Cod, where the storm was expected to be mostly rain, officials worried about beach erosion. The area sustained extensive erosion from Superstorm Sandy in October and a major snowstorm last month.

Some less severe beach erosion was forecast along the southern Maine coast, and some parts of New Hampshire saw a foot of snow or more.


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