Cleanup, power restoration begin after 3rd nor’easter

Author: Mark Pratt and Sarah Betancourt, AP
Al Gambale clears snow on Cottage Street in Boston, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. The Boston area was hit with it’s third nor’easter of the month on Tuesday, a storm that brought powerful gusts of wind and over a foot of snow. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Storm cleanup and the restoration of power to the tens of thousands of residents and businesses without electricity were the focus Wednesday, a day after a fierce nor’easter lashed the Northeast with hurricane-force winds and heavy snow.

With spring tantalizingly close after the switch to daylight saving time, many were left shaking their heads – and wielding shovels they had hoped would not be needed again – after the third major storm in two weeks buried some New England towns beneath 2 feet (0.61 meters) of snow on Tuesday.

“The groundhog was right. Six more weeks of winter, and probably then some,” said Paul Knight, of Portland, Maine, as snow accumulated on his eyebrows.

About 140,000 customers were without power in Massachusetts on Wednesday morning, while Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut were also dealing with scattered outages. Utility National Grid, which serves Massachusetts and Rhode Island, said it could be Thursday evening before everyone is back online.

The National Weather Service, relying on trained spotters, says Tuesday’s storm brought more than 2 feet of snow to some communities.

Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was the leader with nearly 28 inches. Foster, Rhode island, got more than 25 inches, while in Connecticut, Killingly had the most with just over 20 inches.

Rochester, New Hampshire, got 25 inches, while Limerick and Newfield, Maine had 23.5 inches each

High winds and blowing snow led meteorologists to categorize the storm as a blizzard in parts of New England, including Boston. Gusts approached 70 mph on Cape Cod, the weather service said.

Amtrak suspended all service on Tuesday between Boston and New York City. The railroad later announced that most service between the two cities would resume on sometime Wednesday.

Road and air travel also was disrupted: Slick roads were blamed for at least one death in North Carolina, and the flight-tracking site FlightAware reported more than 1,500 canceled flights. Boston’s Logan International Airport, nearly deserted Tuesday, resumed flights Wednesday.

Janice James’ house in Osterville, on Cape Cod, was in the dark again after losing power for three days in the last storm. James and her four children spent the day eating baked goods she made before the storm and hoping the lights and heat would come back soon.

“We are freezing,” the 39-year-old James said.

In Rhode Island, the snow did not stop residents from getting to church. In East Greenwich, the Rev. Bernard Healey said he celebrated noon Mass with “two hearty souls” who came despite the nor’easter.

“If I lost power, we’d (still) celebrate Mass,” Healey said. “We would just use more candles.”

Robert F. Bukaty in Portland, Maine; Jennifer McDermott in Warwick, Rhode Island; and William J. Kole in Bourne, Massachusetts, contributed to this report.

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