'It's a wicked storm': Blizzard shows no mercy on Boston area, dumps more than 2 feet of snow

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After a howling blizzard heaped snow on parts of New England, people in Nantucket are now dealing with no power and flooding. (Jan. 27)


As residents from Philadelphia to Massachusetts dig out from the Nor'easter, businesses are assessing the damage. (Jan. 27)


A major winter storm was blanketing New Hampshire Tuesday, but there were minimum problems reported so far. A plow driver for the state's Department of Transportation said the dry, light snow is easy to move off the road. (Jan. 27)


Powerful winds and heavy snow swept through Maine on Tuesday, shutting down state offices and forcing thousands of residents to stay home from work and school. (Jan. 27)


Residents slowly began digging out from as much as two feet of snow following a blizzard that forced officials to preemptively close roads and commuter rail lines overnight Tuesday across Long Island. (Jan. 27)


A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27)


A howling blizzard heaped less snow on New York City that forecasters expected, leaving politicians defending their near-total shutdown on travel. (Jan. 27)


Gov. Charlie Baker has lifted the travel ban in four counties in the western part of Massachusetts, but he urged the public to use its "best judgment" before going out. (Jan. 27)


Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says the winter storm failed to live up to predictions in some areas, but much of the state will likely be spending the day snowed in, as a winter storm continues to pound the state. (Jan. 27)


High winds kicked up snow and water spray, but no reports of major flooding on vulnerable Plum Island, Massachusetts. (Jan. 27)


Snow plow operators are hard at work after a howling blizzard heaped snow on most of Massachusetts on Tuesday. (Jan. 27)


The busy Northeast corridor was in line for a winter wallop that was predicted to bring anywhere from a few inches to a couple of feet of snow from northern New Jersey to Maine. Snowfall is heavy but less than predicted in many places. (Jan. 27)


Boston and Providence are now forecast to get about two feet of snow. That's the heaviest snowfall from the blizzard hitting the East Coast, but it's less than earlier predictions. (Jan. 27)


New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo says a storm-related travel ban will go into effect on all roads in 13 counties including New York City and Long Island at 11 p.m., along with a shutdown of the city's subway system and commuter rails. (Jan. 26)


More than 35 million people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential to drop 1 to 3 feet of snow, which could paralyze the Northeast for days. (Jan. 26)


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a state of emergency as residents prepare to be hit with a record amount of snow and blizzard conditions. (Jan. 26)


Governor Chris Christie says he is confident in the state's ability to deal with an incoming snowstorm with potential to drop record numbers of snow across the Northeast. (Jan. 26)


A "potentially historic" storm could dump 2 to 3 feet of snow from northern New Jersey to southern Maine starting Monday, crippling a region that has largely been spared so far this winter, the National Weather Service said. (Jan. 26)

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BOSTON — Its winds howling at more than 70 mph, the Blizzard of 2015 slammed Boston and surrounding parts of New England on Tuesday with none of the mercy it unexpectedly showed New York City, piling up more than 2 feet of snow.

The storm punched out a 40-to-50-foot section of a seawall in Marshfield, Massachusetts, badly damaging a vacant home. In Newport, Rhode Island, it toppled a 110-foot replica of a Revolutionary War sailing vessel in dry dock, breaking its mast and puncturing its hull.

The blizzard's force and relentlessness stunned even winter-hardened New Englanders.

"It's a wicked storm," Jeff Russell said as he fought a mounting snowdrift threatening to cover a window at his home in Scarborough, Maine.

The snow in New England began Monday evening and continued most of Tuesday. A blizzard warning for Boston ended Tuesday evening as the snow tapered off, but one remained in effect for the south coast, Cape Cod and nearby islands.

The area also was dealing with bitter cold: The low in Boston on Wednesday is expected to be 10 degrees, with wind chill minus 5, and forecasters said it will not get above freezing for the next week or so.

The Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor of more than 35 million people had braced for a paralyzing blast Monday evening and into Tuesday after forecasters warned of a storm of potentially historic proportions.

The weather lived up to its billing in New England and on New York's Long Island, which also got clobbered.

But in the New York City area, the snowfall wasn't all that bad, falling short of a foot. By Tuesday morning, buses and subways were starting to run again, and driving bans there and in New Jersey had been lifted.

The glancing blow left forecasters apologizing and politicians defending their near-total shutdown on travel. Some commuters grumbled, but others sounded a better-safe-than-sorry note and even expressed sympathy for the weatherman.

"I think it's like the situation with Ebola: If you over-cover, people are ready and prepared, rather than not giving it the attention it needs," said Brandon Bhajan, a New York security guard.

National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said his agency should have done a better job of communicating the uncertainty in its forecast. But he also said the storm may in fact prove to be one of the biggest ever in some parts of Massachusetts.

Around New England, snowplows struggled to keep up, and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. Snow blanketed Boston Common, where the Redcoats drilled during the Revolution, and drifts piled up against Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty stoked the fires of rebellion.

Nearly 21 inches of snow coated Boston's Logan Airport by evening, while nearby Framingham had 2½ feet and Worcester 26 inches. Lunenburg reported 33 inches.

Providence, Rhode Island, had well over a foot of snow. Sixteen inches had piled up in Portland, Maine, and 23 inches in Waterford, Connecticut. Montauk, on the eastern end of Long Island, got about 2 feet.

"It feels like a hurricane with snow," said Maureen Keller, who works at an oceanfront resort in Montauk.

At least 30,000 homes and businesses were without power in the Boston-Cape Cod area, including the entire island of Nantucket.

A 78 mph wind gust was reported on Nantucket, and a 72 mph one on Martha's Vineyard.

"It felt like sand hitting you in the face," Bob Paglia said after walking his dog in Whitman, a small town about 20 miles south of Boston.

Two deaths, both on Long Island, were tied to the storm by police: a 17-year-old who crashed into a light pole while snow-tubing down a street and an 83-year-old man with dementia who was found dead in his backyard.

As the storm pushed into the Northeast on Monday, the region came to a near standstill, alarmed by forecasters' dire predictions. More than 7,700 flights were canceled, and schools, businesses, government offices and transit systems shut down. But the storm tracked farther east than forecasters expected.

While Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey had been warned they could get 1 to 2 feet of snow, New York City received just under 10 inches and Philadelphia a mere inch or so. New Jersey got up to 10 inches.

"This is nothing," said Susanne Payot, a New York cabaret singer whose rehearsal Tuesday was canceled. "I don't understand why the whole city shut down because of this."

National Weather Service forecaster Gary Szatkowski, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, tweeted an apology: "You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn't. Once again, I'm sorry."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended his statewide ban on travel as "absolutely the right decision to make," given the dire forecast. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will look at whether storm procedures could be improved but added: "You can't be a Monday morning quarterback on something like the weather."

Officials in cold-weather cities know the political costs of seeming unprepared or unresponsive in snowstorms, and the blizzard poses a test for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who took office three weeks ago, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who just finished his first year in office.

With the storm drawing near, the governor banned all non-essential travel, and the mayor ordered city schools closed for two days.

"So far, so good," said Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry. "What's important for a governor or a mayor is to appear to be in charge and to have a plan to finish up the job and to get the city and the state back to work."


Lavoie reported from Whitman, Massachusetts. Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Michelle R. Smith in Providence; Rhode Island; Mark Pratt and William J. Kole in Boston; Pat Eaton-Robb in Columbia, Connecticut; Jennifer Peltz, Kiley Armstrong, Ula Ilnytzky and Verena Dobnik in New York; Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey; Jill Colvin in Jersey City, New Jersey; Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, New Jersey; and Sean Carlin, Michael Sisak and Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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