Boston bounces back from 2 feet of snow after blizzard
BOSTON (AP) -- Boston bounced back quickly Wednesday from the Blizzard of 2015, with subways, buses and trains up and running again the morning after the storm buried a swath of New England in 2 to 3 feet of snow.
Many businesses reopened, as did Logan Airport, and homeowners, motorists and storekeepers dug out with grudging praise for the forecasters, who missed the mark in New York but got it right in New England.
A Boston bartender, Chris Laudani, became an instant symbol of the city's resilience for shoveling snow off the yellow and blue Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, where the 2013 terrorist bombing killed three people and wounded more than 260.
"For someone to brave the blizzard to clear our finish line for us is yet another statement as to what our event means not only to runners but also to Americans," said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which oversees the marathon.
Meteorologists had warned that Boston would get more than 2 feet of snow by Tuesday night, and the National Weather Service said the city ended up with 24.4 inches, the sixth-highest total on record. Other areas received around 2 to 3 feet, pretty much as predicted.
"They actually got it right," James Hansen said as he cleared a Boston sidewalk.
There was no gloating among the forecasters, who just seemed relieved they were on the money.
Pointing up the guesswork factor, the weather team at Boston's WHDH-TV tweeted a photo of the office snow pool, with pre-storm predictions ranging from 22 to 25.5 inches.
As the storm gathered earlier in the week, forecasters had warned that Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey could get 1 to 2 feet of snow. But in the end, they didn't even see a foot.
With snow removal in Boston well underway, commuters high-stepped their way through a warren of snowy paths and towering snowbanks that gave the capital an almost alpine feel.
Still, bitter cold threatened to complicate efforts to clear clogged streets and restore power. Forecasters warned that it won't get above freezing in Boston for a week, and several more inches of snow are expected Friday and again over the weekend.
Boston is accustomed to big snowstorms, and with ample warning that a blizzard was coming officials mobilized thousands of snowplows and called up the National Guard.
Early on, Gov. Charlie Baker, who has been in office just three weeks, made a key decision, ordering a driving ban to give crews a chance to clear the mounting snow off roadways. Baker said he wrestled with that but it "worked pretty much as we hoped."
"We've come out of this in relatively good shape," he said Wednesday before visiting the hard-hit South Shore area, where the storm breached a seawall and caused flooding.
In Marshfield, officials said at least four homes likely will be condemned and at least a dozen more sustained substantial damage after two 80-foot sections of seawall were smashed.
Local fisherman Tim Mannix was trying to move furniture to secure a sliding door at his home when the ocean struck.
"A wave hit at that moment, and bang! Like lightning it hit me right in the face," he said, his nose showing the damage from the encounter: six fractures, which required numerous stiches. "It was so fast I couldn't believe it, and down I went."
He said the water came in from the back of his house, knocked down his back deck, washed through the house and destroyed his front deck.
"The house is wrecked," he said, "75 percent wrecked."
Baker also took a helicopter to Nantucket, where islanders accounted for about half the 7,200 people in Massachusetts still without electricity. Nantucket was lashed with winds gusting to 76 mph.
Around Massachusetts, Worcester got 33.5 inches, the highest amount recorded since 1905, and Auburn and Lunenburg each reported 36 inches.
Parts of the New Hampshire coastline got 31 inches. Providence, Rhode Island, received around 19 inches. Thirty-one inches piled up in Sanford, Maine, and 33.5 inches in Thompson, Connecticut. Orient, on the eastern end of New York's Long Island, got about 30 inches.
"Our snowblower broke down a couple of times because it couldn't handle all the snow," said Jodi McKim, struggling to free her car in Whitman, south of Boston.
A man shoveling snow in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on Tuesday night collapsed and died. Two other deaths, both on Long Island, were blamed on the storm.
In Providence, a man and his two small children were hospitalized with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after drifting snow covered a boiler vent on their home.
In rural Maine, Leo Moody hoped to dig his ice fishing shack out of the snow. With the blase tone of a genuine Downeaster, he brushed it all off as "just a snowstorm."
"Back in the '70s and '80s, this was a typical winter," Moody said. "Now you get a couple feet of snow and everybody freaks out."
Scientists caution against linking any one weather event, like this blizzard, to man-made global warming without lengthy and intricate analysis.
But the waters off the Northeast were about 2 degrees warmer than normal, and last year the world regularly broke ocean temperature records, according to Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.
He and other experts say that as the world warms, it can expect stronger storms because warmer water supplies them with more energy and warmer air allows them to hold and dump more snow or rain.
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