Storm recovery efforts are underway with National Guard aid
Recovery efforts are in full swing, as Logan Airport and area train and bus systems resumed service today, power was restored for thousands of customers throughout the state, and eight rapid assessment teams toured coastal communities from Quincy to Sandwich.
“Our expectation is to have people resume their ordinary schedules tomorrow,” Governor Deval Patrick said this morning in a press conference under sunny skies.
The parking ban and snow emergency ruling in Boston remain in effect and the city’s public schools will be closed Monday, according to the mayor’s office. The MBTA said it would resume its regularly scheduled Monday service.
Logan Airport was closed from approximately 10:30 p.m. Friday to 11 p.m. Saturday with 24.9 inches of snow, the fifth-highest total ever in the city. Two of the airport’s four main runways reopened, with the other two expected to be available later today. Only two runways are used at a time, depending on the direction of the wind, said Matthew Brelis, Massport spokesman.
“Airlines will be rebuilding their schedules throughout the day, and we should be at full capacity by the end of the day,” he said. “We’ve had very experienced snow crews working throughout the storm, with the exception of five or six hours at the height of the storm when we had to pull them back.”
As crews continued the arduous cleanup of the Boston's roadways, Mayor Thomas M. Menino stressed Sunday that clearing dead-ends and narrow side streets that remained unplowed and unpassable Sunday was a priority.
Menino has asked private contractors and state emergency management officials for extra snow-plowing equipment, such as dump trucks, back hoes, and front-end loaders, to remove heavy chunks of snow blocking roads. The city also received 20 pieces of plowing equipment from Vermont, said the city’s spokeswoman Dot Joyce.
“Traffic is still clogged up by snow piles, so those front loaders will be put to work and getting to those side streets,” Joyce said.
Until the heavy lifting is done, the city’s snow emergency and parking ban remain in effect.
“We’re still not ready to have people parking on the arterials. There’s no place for them to park,’’ Joyce said. “It would just take up more space.”
Boston public schools will remain closed Monday. The city urged residents to stay in and businesses are asked to have employees work from home. Cars parked on main streets will be ticketed and towed.
Menino spent today visiting neighborhoods throughout the city to assess the damage of the weekend’s historic storm. He said four community centers in Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, East Boston, and Mission Hill will be open until 6 p.m. for parents who need a safe place for their children, ages 6 to 12, to spend the day.
By late morning at Logan, long lines formed at ticket counters. But some weary travelers had their flights rerouted, as airlines scrambled to get passengers to their destinations.
“They must have been piling people onto planes,” said Larry Gochberg of Detroit, whose flight to Boston on Saturday was cancelled five times, before he finally arrived this morning. “I was kind of amazed I actually got here.”
His rerouted flight included a stop at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. “We’re going to get in seven hours later than we were supposed to,” said Gochberg, who was traveling with a friend who lives in Greater Boston. “It could have been worse, I suppose. I’m still probably going to go to sleep when I get there.”
Robin Fagan of Camden, Maine, was napping this morning, her legs resting on her luggage cart. She arrived at Logan on Friday afternoon, hoping to beat the storm, and still make her flight to Italy on Saturday.
“I wanted to get here before it really got bad,” she said.
Instead, Fagan spent two days stuck at Logan, sleeping at night on a cot, and chatting with other stranded passengers. “It was pretty cool,” she said. “There were only six or eight of us and the terminal was totally empty.”
Fagan was traveling to Italy for an eight-day trip to visit her daughter, who is studying in Florence. Her flight was rebooked until Sunday evening, cutting her trip short by one day. But she was planning to make up for lost time. “I’ll eat some good pasta when I get there,” she said, smiling.
Syd and Cinda Stephan, snow blower dealers from Minnesota, flew to Boston on Wednesday to attend a landscaping trade show.
“We had a lot of interest at our booth,” Cinda said, with a laugh.
The last day of the trade show was cancelled, and the couple spent Saturday bunking with family in Bedford. Their rescheduled flight was due to leave this afternoon -- with an unexpected stop at LaGuardia.
But the couple faced new weather worries in their home state. “Minneapolis is supposed to get freezing rain and snow,” Syd said, shaking his head.
Amtrack announced this morning limited service between New York and Boston. The ‘Downeaster’ service between Brunswick, Maine and Boston has resumed with some modifications, according to the statement.
All Springfield Shuttle service between New Haven, Conn. and Springfield remains canceled.
Thousands of National Guard soldiers are assisting communities, including those along the North Shore, recover from the damage, and are helping utility companies remove debris and plow snow, said Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Two deaths on Saturday were attributed to the weather, victims of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a backup of the deadly gas into the cars they were sitting in, apparently to warm up. The tailpipes of those vehicles were plugged by snow, authorities said. A 14-year-old boy and a man in his 20s died in separate incidents less than two miles apart in Roxbury and Mattapan.
A brother and sister, ages 4 and 7, also were found unconscious inside a car in East Boston. Those siblings are expected to survive.
And two Norwell adults are being treated today at Boston Medical Center for carbon monoxide poisoning, apparently cased by an improperly ventilated generator in their home.
Authorities have been issuing advisories to residents to clear the tailpipes of their vehicles as they dig out, and to use portable generators outdoors and away from doors, windows, vents and other building openings.
During the press conference in Plymouth, town authorities said they received 18 carbon monoxide calls to residences since the storm’s arrival, but there have been no serious injuries. Plymouth was one of the communities hardest hit by the storm, with flooding and power outages. Quincy and parts of the Cape were also hit hard.
To accommodate those without power or heat, 16 shelters were opened, mostly in the southeast region of the state. Those shelters, at high schools, community centers, and other locations, took in more than 1,657 people overnight Saturday.
Patrick said the effort by NStar to restore power was adequate.
“I think they’ve been doing pretty well, today is a critical day because the worst of the weather is over. They’re trying to hit it hard but if you’re without power, you’re impatient, and I totally understand that...”
Although the emergency driving ban was lifted on Saturday at 4 p.m., Patrick asked residents to stay off roads to allow crews to clean them more efficiently.
The MBTA began limited service at 2 p.m. today, running the entire Orange and Red Lines and the Blue Line between Government Center and Orient Heights. Service on the Green Line was limited from Kenmore to Lechmere.
Five bus routes also went into service, including the Silver Line on Washington Street and lines 1, 23, 28 and 39.
Those lines are among the busiest in the city and crews, both with the authority and contractors, have been working “around the clock to restore service,” said General Manager Beverly A. Scott.
Officials expected service to increase Monday as track, platforms, and bus stops are cleared.
Rain is on the way, and while it may melt a bit of the snow, it also has the potential to cause pooling in some areas as drains may be obstructed, according to the National Weather Service.
Monday will start off clear, then there may be a very brief period of sleet or light snow before the rain is expected to start falling. The snow and ice and rain mixture may act as a lubricant on roads, making for slippery travel. About a half inch of rain will fall, lasting through the evening commute.
The temperatures will be in the lower 30s early in the day Monday but may reach the mid 40s by afternoon. The slight warm-up will likely continue for a couple of days.
The rain is not related to the storm system that is currently east of Newfoundland.
Snow totals included 30.2 inches in Fitchburg, and 31 inches in Spencer, according to the service.
A three-alarm fire in Dorchester late Saturday night and a two-alarm fire in Roxbury this morning displaced a total of about 30 people, and resulted in at least eight non-life threatening injuries, according to Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department.
The cause of the 11:43 p.m. Dorchester blaze on Mather Street is unknown. Firefighters from Ladder 6 rescued a man who was trapped on the top floor of the 2 ½-story structure. The man suffered burns and another resident suffered smoke inhalation. Four firefighter were treated for minor injuries.
The fire in Roxbury started at about 5 a.m. today and was caused by combustible materials left on the top of heating pipes, MacDonald said. Three firefighters were injured, including one who suffered a cracked rib.
MacDonald said firefighters are clearing snow from hydrants throughout the city.Erin Ailworth, Meghan E. Irons, Katie Johnston, Akilah Johnson, and Kathy McCabe of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Evan Allen, Derek J. Anderson, Jaclyn Reiss, Matt Rocheleau contributed to this report. Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou. Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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