A major storm left quite the mess in New England, sending cars skidding into trouble and even breaking plows amid a blanket of snow at least a foot high in many areas.
In Boston, about 13 inches fell by 1 p.m., the most in nearly three years; Grafton and Waltham each got 16 inches. And there were even higher snow totals in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, where plenty of crashes were reported.
But for many, the storm was a welcome change from the stuck-at-home drudgery of life in the coronavirus pandemic, giving kids all over the chance to play in a winter wonderland, with some even getting snow days despite many schools having the capability for remote learning.
“Oh, the weather’s awesome,” said Charlestown resident Sandra Wishansky. “It’s New England, it’s wicked awesome.”
Boston's snow emergency, declared Wednesday night ahead of the storm's arrival, is due to be lifted at 7 a.m. Friday, ending the city's parking ban on snow routes. Mayor Marty Walsh said city residents had "great compliance" with the ban.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
But the city urged residents not to throw snow from sidewalks or private property into streets or face a fine. Likewise, property owners who don't clear snow, ice or sleet from the sidewalks and curb in front of their property by 10 a.m. Friday, they could be fined.
In Charlestown, the snow made it tough to get around and people struggled to keep up while they dug out their cars. But it put others in a holiday spirit, and made Tom Goulet reflect.
“After a year like we’ve had,” Goulet said, “nice to see a fresh coat making the city bright again.”
For most in New England, the heaviest snowfall came overnight. Both Waltham and Grafton got more than a foot of its total by the time most people were waking up this morning.
Most of the roads in Waltham have since cleared, but some are still snow-packed. The Pratt family spent about an hour and a half trying to dig their way out.
“We were able to finish it a lot faster," Sophie Pratt said. "As for bonding, I think we would say it’s not the funnest thing to do as a family but it is nice that you have people to do it with.”
For Waltham teacher Courtney Allia, the snow provided an outdoor escape from the constraints of indoor learning as the district held school remotely Thursday.
“Just playing outside after school, these kids worked really hard all day," Allia said. "They didn’t get a real snow day so we’re lucky that we live nearby to come sledding.”
For her daughter, Tessa, the snow provided some relief.
“It’s rewarding because I just sat at a desk all day and listened to teachers talk," she said.
In Grafton, plow driver Shawn Lynch, Jr. said that “at 2 o’clock in the morning, it was low visibility to none at all, with the wind.”
That wind made clean-up messy, for people trying to clear the sidewalks or clear their roof. But it was a snow day for kids in Grafton, while neighboring towns didn't get one -- a grass is greener on the other side phenomenon others saw across the region.
The snow wasn't all fun and games for kids in Massachusetts. In Burlington, where plenty of kids hit the sledding slopes, a third-grader named Bella was drafted by her father, Mike Santa Maria, into clearing the yard on her snow day. But she didn't seem to mind too much.
"I was so happy because I haven’t got to play in the snow for a long time," Bella said.
In New Hampshire, three plow truck drivers told us they had plows break. Blowing snow made it too hard to conduct interviews at one point and made a couple consider turning around from a birthday trip to the mountains after making it to Hooksett.
But Jeff Hinds braved the elements to pick up his son, who's in the military, from the airport and bring him home for the first time in a year.
"I said, you just get here and I'll come," said Hinds, grinning under his mask.
Andover, New Hampshire, had 40 inches of snow fall. Still more snow dumped close to Ludlow, Vermont. In southern Maine, there were traffic messes, schools closed and a lot of broken windshield wipers.
But some of the most intense damage was along the coast in Boston, where coastal surge flooded streets and homes, adding an icy element of danger.
Scituate residents like Christa Griffin have become used to flooding in storms, though they still have the capacity to surprise.
"I had the window open, and believe it or not, even though we are up on pylons and I was up three floors, the water went right thru the window," she said.
She added, "The storm came, it went. A lot of heavy flooding but I am hoping everyone faired well."