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Winter Storm Brings A Mixed Bag To Northeast


New York City and Philadelphia dodged the worst of it, but the nor'easter did wallop parts of New England, and that's where we begin this hour. NPR's Tovia Smith is in Boston and says parts of Massachusetts as well as Connecticut are battling floods power outages and several feet of snow and it keeps coming.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: After all the hype of an historic storm, Massachusetts ended up with all that and then some. Blizzard conditions continued in the eastern part of the state today. As the storm spun overhead, it kept spilling several inches an hour.

CORY DUNLOP: The length of it is that - you know, 10 hours to 40. It takes a beating on you.

SMITH: Cory Dunlop started plowing in Swampscott, north of Boston, just after midnight and was at it all day. Lenny DeMauro would have kept at it, but his plow got stuck.

LENNY DEMAURO: Yeah, I'm going to - they've got to send a bigger truck and hook a chain to me and pull me out of here.

SMITH: Before it's done, snow in parts of central and eastern Massachusetts will hit 25 to 30 inches. Meantime, wicked winds as high as 78 miles per hour in some places have left drifts of up to six feet according to Governor Charlie Baker.


GOVERNOR CHARLIE BAKER: This is clearly a very big story. And there are areas around eastern Mass. at this point that you would probably describe as being in a whiteout-type condition.

SMITH: Tens of thousands in southeastern Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island lost power. The whole island of Nantucket went dark before a generator brought light and heat back to some. Officials say permanent repairs could take days. Meantime, in areas south of Boston, power was purposely cut to prevent fires during flooding which was severe in some areas. Several homes have been damaged and condemned, and extensive beach erosion along the Cape Cod shoreline is being reported. Eastern Connecticut was hit with record-breaking snowfall, some places heading for 30 inches. Mystic resident Jim Short was not optimistic as he tried to clear the two feet or so from his driveway.

JIM SHORT: This is a pretty bad one, and there's a lot of wind with this, too, which makes this such a depressing operation 'cause you just know by tomorrow it's all going to be back and you're going to do it over again.

SMITH: New Hampshire and Maine were also hit hard. Maine's governor said no town would be spared. But New York and New Jersey mostly escaped the brunt of the one, most parts getting something closer to a dusting than the dump that was predicted. New Yorkers were already dubbing it the snore-easter and grousing about the travel ban imposed yesterday.

DAVID MCMILLIAN: I thought how I'm going to get work because they done shut the city down.

SMITH: Bronx resident David McMillian managed to get to his construction job shortly after subway service resumed midmorning. He's among those wondering if officials may be airing a little too much on the side of caution by ordering such broad travel bans and closures.

MCMILLIAN: Now that they know they can do it, they just shut it down. And I'm not sure if it's on a whim, but a lot of people lose work, a day's pay, and they have bills to pay. There's a lot of poor people that live in New York City. So maybe they should've did a little more homework or something before they decided to shut it down.

SMITH: Meteorologists say the storm just went further east than expected. A National Weather Service forecaster in New Jersey actually tweeted out an apology. But as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lifted their travel bans, officials defended the precautions they took.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: You can't be a Monday morning quarterback on something like the weather.

SMITH: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the restrictions a no-brainer.


DE BLASIO: Bottom line is we got lucky, but we had to take precautions to keep people safe.

SMITH: The sentiment was echoed by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. Instead of the hundreds of car accidents you'd expect in a major storm, he said, there were about 15 by midday in his state. One storm fatality reported so far was not from the roads. A 17-year-old boy who was snow tubing crashed into a light pole. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.