BOSTON (AP) — A storm brought a new round of wind-whipped snow to New England on Sunday, creating near-whiteout conditions in coastal areas and forcing people to contend with a fourth winter onslaught in less than a month.
A blizzard warning was in effect for coastal communities from Rhode Island to Maine into Monday; and a bone-chilling blast of cold, with lows of minus-10 degrees was in the Sunday night forecast in parts of the region.
As the storm lashed the coastline of Cape Cod Bay with heavy surf and nearly a foot of fresh snow, Red Cross volunteer Marc Lieber was riding it out at home in Sagamore Beach. He was on standby, but even if called, he said he probably would not be able to deploy.
“I can’t get out of my driveway,” Lieber said. “The earlier snow hasn’t gone away, and now this.”
A foot of snow had fallen across much of eastern Massachusetts by Sunday morning, with Ipswich and Salisbury recording 20 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Before it is all over, coastal areas of New Hampshire and southern Maine could see up to 2 feet, weather forecasters said.
“The best thing people can do is stay home, stay indoors,” said William Babcock, a weather service meteorologist.
Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts and Gov. Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island warned motorists to stay off the roads.
Baker said Sunday morning that high tide was not as severe as anticipated, with no reports of major flooding, but warned that winds gusting over 60 mph could bring power outages.
“There’s a little bit of deja vu all over again in this,” he said.
Frank Libby, who was out trying to find newspapers in Boston Sunday morning, said it seems every few days the city is getting slammed with another foot of snow.
“It’s historic. It’s biblical,” the 62-year-old attorney said as he walked down a deserted street in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood. “I think we’re in uncharted territory. People just don’t know how to deal with the logistics of it.”
He had one message for Mother Nature: “Give us a break.”
One house of worship, the Union United Methodist Church in Boston, canceled Sunday services and instead was holding a prayer call via telephone.
Transportation officials in the region had taken precautions. Nearly 400 Sunday flights were canceled at Boston’s Logan International Airport, and none was scheduled Sunday morning. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority canceled all rail, bus and ferry service in the Boston area on Sunday.
Babcock said gusts could max out at 75 mph – hurricane territory – on Cape Cod. Officials warned of possible power outages, and north-facing or vulnerable coastal areas could suffer flooding and beach erosion, the weather service said.
Ahead of the storm, forces gathered to remove piles of snow and ready for the next round. More than 6 feet of snow was already standing in some areas near Boston from previous storms.
Massachusetts called up hundreds of National Guard troops to assist with snow removal, and the Hanscom Air Force base outside Boston became a staging area for heavy equipment pouring in from eight other Northeast states to help in the effort.
Crews worked in Boston’s Financial District to remove the massive amounts of snow that clogged streets and triggered numerous roof collapses.
The bad weather spanned several states – winter storm warnings extended west into Michigan and Ohio, where whiteout conditions led to a pileup on the Ohio Turnpike that killed at least two people. Another storm-related crash on the New York Thruway south of Buffalo killed one person.
AP writers William J. Kole in Bourne, Massachusetts, Ben Thomas in Revere, Alanna Durkin and Philip Marcelo in Boston, and Albert Stumm in Philadelphia contributed to this report.