Weather & National Disasters

Outages, Cancelations Linger In Wake Of Snowstorm

By Sarah Birnbaum   |   Thursday, January 13, 2011
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Jan. 13, 2010

People are digging out their driveways, homes and bicycles on Thursday -- like this one in Central Square. (Jess Bidgood/WGBH)

BOSTON -- Emergency crews and homeowners around Massachusetts are working to shake-off the aftereffects of a snowstorm that knocked out power to 100,000 residents, kept all flights from going in and out of Logan Airport, pushed down branches and trees and caused thousands of school and workplaces to be closed.

On Thursday morning, hundreds of schools were still closed or delayed, and at least hundreds of customers remained without power.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who declared a state of emergency during the height of the blizzard, asked residents still dealing with no power to remain patient.

"Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to light a fire under the utilities and have them respond to you," Patrick said during a briefing on Wednesday.

He also said drivers should continue to exercise caution on roadways, which may not yet be perfectly clear. "The residue will linger for a while and the ramps will be slippery, but cleanup will continue and just keep an eye out for folks who are doing that work on your behalf," Patrick said.

As dangerous as roads were on Wednesday, no major accidents or injuries have been reported.

The storm left up to 30 inches in Western Massachusetts, around 18 inches on Boston and half-a-foot on Cape Cod.

Nor'easter Will Bring Heavy Snowfall, High Winds To Mass.

By Jess Bidgood   |   Tuesday, January 11, 2011
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Jan. 11, 2011

BOSTON — Get out those snow shovels. A blizzard could dump up to 18 inches of snow on some parts of the state Wednesday, snarling both morning and evening commutes.

A number of flights are already canceled at Logan Airport, while dozens of schools have announced they'll be closed Wednesday because of the snow.

Gov. Deval Patrick is meeting with the state's transportation and emergency management agencies via teleconference Wednesday evening to discuss storm response.

The storm is expected to drop heavy, fast-falling snow from the Berkshires to Boston to the coast. "What we're looking at now is an apparently large area in the state has the potential for 12 or more inches of snow," said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Taunton.

8 to 12 inches of snow are predicted for the Boston area. Less snow is expected on the Cape, with 5-9 inches predicted on the upper Cape, and 3-5 inches predicted on the outer Cape and islands.

Dunham said Central Massachusetts is expected to get the heaviest snow. "I would not be surprised if it's upward of 16 to 18 inches," Dunham said.

At its heaviest, the light, fluffy snow could accumulate at a rate of three inches per hour. That will make it extra hard to clear the roads.

Luisa Paiewonsky, highway administrator for MassDOT, expects snow to keep piling up through the day. "Snow blowing back on the roads does tend to happen with gusting winds," she said. "We can expect to see very difficult driving conditions tomorrow." 

Paiewonsky said MassDOT is pre-treating roads before the snow arrives and is prepared to send 4,000 snowplows and spreaders to clear the roads. Still, she recommends people play close attention to traffic reports before venturing out.

Blizzard Piles Snow, Delays On New England

By Phillip Martin   |   Tuesday, December 28, 2010
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Dec. 28, 2010

On Monday, snow-shoveling in Beacon Hill. (AP Photo)

BOSTON — This week's blizzard may be over, but the storm's impact is lingering as people throughout New England deal with shoveling, flight delays and power outages left by the blizzard that left almost 20 inches of snowfall in some areas of the state.

Tens of thousands of people remained without power on Tuesday, especially on the North and South Shores, which received the brunt of the fast-moving storm. About 300 crews from National Grid have been working around the clock to restore electricity.

Some NSTAR customers also are without power, though the company says most of the 8,700 households that were cut off are now back in business.  Still others are not expected to see the light until Tuesday afternoon. 

The community that seems to have suffered the most damage from the storm is Scituate, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Nearly 100 people had to be rescued from Scituate and other coastal towns that were flooded by the storm surge.

The last few days have also been a nightmare for many heading out on vacation.  Flights have resumed at Logan Airport, but a Massport spokesperson says that passengers should still expect some delays, especially if traveling on Virgin Airlines, which canceled all its flights on Monday.

On the roads, state police report that there have been about 200 storm-related crashes since the storm swept through on Sunday.

Snowplow operators, according to city officials, continue to push mounds of snow mixed with ice and salt from clogged arteries.
Because many communities declared "snow emergencies" before the storm, many drivers across the state may return from holiday vacations to find that their cars have been towed from streets designated as emergency roadways.

Meanwhile, the MBTA reports that subways and trolleys are running pretty much on time.

The 18.2 inches of snow dumped in Boston makes it the 10th largest snowfall since the National Weather Service started monitoring these things in 1892.  It was not the famous blizzard of 1978,  but with sustained wind gusts of 35 miles per hour, Sunday and Monday's storm does in fact qualify as a blizzard.  

Old Ship Logs Help Predict Weather Patterns

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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Climate scientists want to use weather reports made by British sailors in World War I but they are hidden in handwritten ship logs, and impossible for computer scanners to read. So the scientists have enlisted online volunteers to grab that weather data for computer analysis. Along the way, transcribers are reading about sea battles and daily life nearly a century ago on a British war ship. The World’s Clark Boyd has more.

Global weather reconstructions from National Maritime Museum on Vimeo.

Dowload this story at The World's web site.

About the Authors
Sarah Birnbaum
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.
Jess Bidgood Jess Bidgood
Jess Bidgood is's news editor and producer.
Phillip Martin Phillip Martin
Phillip W. D. Martin is the senior investigative reporter for WGBH Radio News and executive producer for Lifted Veils Productions. In the past, he was a supervising senior editor for NPR, an NPR race relations correspondent and one of the senior producers responsible for creating The World radio program in 1995. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in 1998. Learn more at


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