Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Northeast recovering from blizzard
BY DAVID KLEPPER and BOB SALSBERG, Associated Press
NEWPORT, R.I. -- Travel eased and life slowly returned to normal for most New Englanders after a massive blizzard, but many remained without power in cold and darkened homes and a forecast of rain brought a new worry: Weight piling up dangerously on roofs already burdened by heavy snow.
The storm that slammed into the region with up to 3 feet of snow was blamed for at least 15 deaths in the Northeast and Canada, and brought some of the highest accumulations ever recorded.
Hundreds of people, their homes without heat or electricity, were forced to take refuge in emergency shelters set up in schools or other places.
Utility crews, some brought in from as far away as Georgia, Oklahoma and Quebec, raced to restore power to more than 220,000 customers -- down from 650,000 in eight states at the height of the storm. In hardest-hit Massachusetts, where some 180,000 customers remained without power on Sunday, officials said some of the outages might linger until Tuesday.
The Boston-area public transportation system, which shut down on Friday afternoon, partially resumed subway service and some bus routes on Sunday. Beverly Scott, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said full service was expected today-- albeit with delays.
"Give yourself more time and expect that it is going to take us more time," Scott advised riders.
Boston recorded 24.9 inches of snow, making it the fifth-largest storm in the city since records were kept. The city was appealing to the state and private contractors for more front-end loaders and other heavy equipment to clear snow piles that were clogging residential streets.
On eastern Long Island, which was slammed with as much as 30 inches of snow, hundreds of snowplows and other heavy equipment were sent in Sunday to clear ice- and drift-covered highways where hundreds of people and cars were abandoned during the height of the storm.
More than a third of all the state's snow-removal equipment was sent to the area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, including more than 400 plow trucks and more than 100 snow blowers, loaders and backhoes.
The National Weather Service was forecasting rain and warmer temperatures in the region today -- which could begin melting some snow but also add considerable weight to snow already piled on roofs, posing the danger of collapse. Of greatest concern were flat or gently-sloped roofs and officials said people should try to clear them -- but only if they could do so safely.
"We don't recommend that people, unless they're young and experienced, go up on roofs," said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
In Middlefield, Conn., two cows were killed when the roof of a barn gave way under the weight of heavy snow -- one of two such incidents in the state that prompted agriculture officials to issue an advisory to farmers.
Officials also continued to warn of carbon monoxide dangers in the wake of the storm.
In Boston, two people died Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide while sitting in running cars, including a teenager who went into the family car to stay warm while his father shoveled snow. The boy's name was not made public. In a third incident, two children were hospitalized but expected to recover.
A fire department spokesman said in each case, the tailpipes of the cars were clogged by snow.
Authorities also reminded homeowners to clear snow from heating vents to prevent carbon monoxide from seeping back into houses.
In eastern Long Island, hundreds of cars were stuck on roads, including the Long Island Expressway, a 27-mile stretch of which was closed Sunday for snow-removal work. Officials hoped to have most major highways cleared in time for the morning commute Monday.