Storm Cleanup Continues as Bitter Cold Returns to New England

The storm cleanup is continuing across New England after the first major snowstorm of 2018 left behind more than a foot of snow in some areas, brought massive flooding along the coast and left thousands without power ahead of a blast of bitter cold temperatures.

On Friday, the streets of Boston were in pretty good shape despite some leftover slush and ice. But there were still many vehicles buried under huge piles of snow in the South End and North End.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said there were about 700 pieces of snow-clearing equipment back out on the roads early Friday morning.

"We want to make sure we remove that off the streets and get them wider because the snow isn't going away for a long time," he said.

Already, crews have removed about 100 trailers of snow. Walsh advised residents to be careful while cleaning vehicles and shoveling so they don't throw snow back out on the streets.

"We want to make sure people can get down those streets and just be careful when you are out there shoveling," he said. "There's still a lot of work to do."

Jawuan Wiggins expected to spend hours digging out his mother's car in Roxbury. He said he'd rather be at school.

"I miss being at school," he said. "We've just been on break for about a week and a half, so we don't need any more snow days."

Boston city officials are reminding residents that once they are able to get outside to clean off their vehicles, space savers are only allowed for 48 hours after a snow emergency is declared.

"I'm using a bucket from Home Depot so someone doesn't take my spot," Alex Kim of South Boston said. "I know if I take someone else's spot, my tires could get slashed."

Officials also asked residents to shovel out sidewalks, walkways and hydrants before temperatures plunge into the single digits and below zero this weekend.

Walsh stressed the need for residents to do their part in the clean up, "because the snow isn't going away for a long time, because if we lose a lane, you're not gonna get it back for a week or two."

The MBTA's Aquarium Station has re-opened since it flooded on Thursday during the afternoon's high tide storm surge, which tied the record set during the Blizzard of 1978.

The MBTA's commuter rail had some delays but was running on a regular schedule. Six Newburyport/Rockport line commuter rail trains had to be cancelled on Friday night due to damage from Thurday's historic tidal surges. They include the Rockport 3:35 p.m. outbound and 5:08 p.m. inbound, the Beverly 4:40 p.m. outbound and 5:35 p.m. inbound and the Newburyport 5:40 p.m. outbound and 7:08 p.m. inbound. Several Haverhill and Lowell trains were also cancelled.

The Cold Divide

This map shows the current surface temperatures. Actual temperature is influenced by many factors like mountains, convective clouds and cities.

Crews worked throughout the night to clear snow from tracks, stations, and platforms.

Most riders said they were pleasantly surprised by the smooth sailing, but some said they're holding their final judgment for spring.

"We'll see," said one commuter. "You never know. I try not to get my hopes up."

Flights in and out of Logan International Airport have resumed as well.

Boston Public Schools and hundreds of other schools throughout New England remained closed Friday.

Although power outages were not as bad with this storm compared to the late October nor'easter that left millions around New England in the dark, hundreds were still without power on Friday. Thousands had been without power at the height of the storm.

The storm claimed its first local victim early Friday when an employee of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority died after suffering a medical emergency while clearing snow at a drinking water storage facility in Arlington.  

In central Massachusetts, plows worked throughout the night to clear the roads, but the biggest concern is still the threat of temperatures dropping later in day and freezing. By 6 a.m. on Friday, there were more than 1,200 crews still clearing roads around the state, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

NBC Boston Meteorologist Tim Kelley said most of New England will get below zero Friday night and it will remain windy. The wind chill could make it feel like minus 35 degrees in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts.

Sunday morning should bring the coldest temperatures, with the potential for some records to be broken.

Jess Flarity, a 32-year-old visiting a friend in Concord, New Hampshire, said the deep chill reminded him of his time in Alaska.

"I've been in minus 60 before so minus 20 doesn't frighten me," he said as he waited for a bus back to Boston Friday. "But I did have to prepare, bring some extra cold weather gear - gloves, boots and those kinds of things."

In Portland, Maine, Jeanne Paterak was stocking up on milk, vegetables and juice at a supermarket Friday morning. She says the storm revived her concerns about climate change and what it might mean for future storms.

"We are seeing some historic temperatures and everyone will be vulnerable," Paterak said.

Despite the dip in temperatures, crews are still trying to keep a handle on the cleanup.

"A lot of plowing. Just keeping stuff clean, pulling some people out of ditches, a couple of minor car accidents so far, but people really heeded the word and stayed off the roads," paramedic Jim Emerton said.

The powerful winds from the storm also brought coastal flooding that reached historic levels in many communities, including the Boston waterfront, the Cape, and along the North and South shores. Icy waters overflowed piers, streets and restaurants and stranded dozens of people who had to be rescued.

The only place where blizzard conditions were reported, however, was Block Island in Rhode Island.

In Scituate, south of Boston, National Grid crews spent Friday morning restoring power to about 300 residents after a sea wall was breached and caused massive flooding and outages in a neighborhood.

Longtime resident Dianne Davis said her home was completely surrounded by ocean water that eventually filled her basement.

"I've never been afraid, but when the water was coming up over my front steps, that's when I said ... 'OK this is getting serious.'" said Davis.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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