Snow storm buries eastern Massachusetts, but the sun returns
(CNN)When baby Anna Klein wakes up to the second day of her life on Wednesday, the sun will come out to greet her and nearly all of frigid New England, too.
But it will also shine down on snow piled feet high.
Anna was born early Tuesday in Hartford, Connecticut, at the height of the winter storm, which, on Wednesday, was winding down farther north in Maine.
Parts in between have seen nearly three feet of white, breaking local records. Massachusetts got buried the deepest.
Boston saw its biggest snow for any January with more than 24 inches. Worchester, Massachusetts, broke its all-time record with 33.5 inches. Only Lunenburg, Massachusetts, broke the three-foot mark — with 36 inches even — by early Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Many more areas from New York to Maine saw two feet or more.
IReporter Amyn Kajani put set his cellphone camera on time lapse and recorded for five hours, as snow piled up at his window, blocking the lens’ view.
When the contractions hit Anna’s mother Heather Klein around midnight she called Hartford police about the travel ban that was in place. They told her it would be fine for her to break it to drive to the hospital.
It was a breeze getting there at around 1:00 a.m. “The roads weren’t that bad, because nobody was on them,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon.
With a relatively modest 13 inches of accumulation, Hartford also saw less snow than nearby counties.
After Anna came into the world, the travel ban kept visitors from coming to see the new baby. “It’s so boring,” Klein said. “I can’t wait to go home.”
That will at least be legal, as travel bans have run out there and in other parts of the Northeast. Rail service is also cranking back up.
The travel ban in Massachusetts, the hardest hit state, fell overnight, and Boston’s public transit system reopens Wednesday. But below-freezing temperatures for most of the week could cause snowy streets to ice up.
The weather service predicts lows from the teens down to minus numbers across the Northeast.
During the storm, two people in New York State lost their lives.
A 17-year-old died after he hit something while snow-tubing Monday night in Huntington, New York, Suffolk County spokesman Tim Sini said. An 83-year-old man who suffered from dementia was found frozen to death in his backyard in the same Long Island county.
It was forecast to be an epic snow storm, but officials felt things could have turned out much worse.
“Although we may end up with record snow, it’s not going to be a record disaster — which it could have very well been,” said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. “Because the snow has been light and fluffy.”
It didn’t weigh enough to snap too many limbs down onto too many power lines.
“Instead of looking at 200 or 300,000 power outages, as we prepared for, the highest number we saw was 36,000,” Judge said. That number had fallen by more than a third late Tuesday.
As the clouds part to let the sun back through on Wednesday, many more planes will take off from snow-gripped airports.
On Monday and Tuesday, 7,621 flights were canceled in the United States, the bulk of them in the Northeast, according to FlightAware.com. Early Wednesday, just over 600 flights had been scrubbed.
Residents have acted sensibly through the storm, most of them heeding warnings when it was forecast as “crippling” and “potentially historic.” They stocked up and stayed off the roads.
“During these storms, everybody has to hunker down and just be safe,” said Bob Connors from Plum Island, on Massachusetts’ North Shore. “We’ve become pretty proficient at that.”
Where the storm may have shown its lighter side in its snow, it put its fierceness into its coastal winds, particularly in eastern Massachusetts.
The island of Nantucket, just off the coast, has no natural barriers to ocean gales. Winds of over 60 mph scoured it for 17 straight hours, said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Late Tuesday, the storm still hovered over parts of New England, when it should have been long gone, he said. But it stopped and did “a little Watusi out there in the ocean,” Myers said.
As it piled snow farther inland, it hurled gusts at the coast.
South of Boston, in Marshfield, waves lashed the shoreline, tearing down about 50 feet of a sea wall. Homes were wrecked. Two were condemned.
Homes a street farther inland were largely spared.
Iraq war veteran Sgt. Jennifer Bruno had evacuated to a friend’s house overnight. She came home to Marshfield on Tuesday to find the storm had wrecked her house.
“Part of the roof collapsed, the wall, my door was missing,” the National Guard sergeant told CNN’s AC360. “It was just destroyed.”
Rocks were everywhere. Late Tuesday, as high tide rolled in, sea water flooded Marshfield streets.
Marshfield’s police department posted a photo of what it called a “major seawall breach (that) caused structural damage” to an unoccupied home. Authorities in neighboring Duxbury showed a deck blown yards away from a home.
Bruno went inside to get her uniforms, a sword she got in Iraq and a cross with scripture on it that once hung on her wall.
She’ll stay with friends until she can find another place to live.
Many residents of New York and New Jersey, are breathing a sigh of relief, as the storm did not follow its predicted path, which would have put them in its cross hairs.
On Monday, officials warned the storm could turn 58 million people’s lives upside down. Seven states, from New Jersey to New Hampshire, declared states of emergency. School was canceled. Public transit shut down. Businesses closed, suggesting a far-reaching economic impact in one of America’s busiest commercial regions.
But by mid morning on Tuesday, snow wasn’t even falling in New York City, and travel bans quickly fell. Officials and weather forecasters took flack from some claiming the warnings were overly hyped.
But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called all the warning and preparations “a better-safe-than-sorry scenario.”
“We’ve dodged the bullet,” he said.
The storm warnings seemed to impress even the most jaded Northeasterner from Brooklyn to Bangor. Still, not everyone was shaking in their snow boots.
Fresh off snowblowing his driveway, on Tuesday, Jim Robins estimated about 2 feet of light, fluffy snow had fallen outside his home in Dover, New Hampshire. While that’s hardly a dusting, it’s also not surprising when you live in New England.
“Sure, that’s a lot, but I have tons of family in Buffalo and they were dealing with 6-10 feet of (snow) at the start of the season,” Robins said. “We will weather this like the New Englanders we are.”
In the coastal city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hundreds accepted a Facebook invitation to a community snowball fight — one that organizer Devin Murphy joked is in the proud tradition dating back to around 1624, when the city was first settled.