Well, they said this would probably be a historical storm, in regards to the intensity and snowfall amounts, and it looks like that has pretty much held up to the predictions.
It turns out that this storm ranked #5 in the top ten snowstorms in the history of Boston, with an official total of 22.5 inches for Boston. Here in Cambridge it looks like our “official” total is about 26 inches.
Here in Massachusetts there are nearly 400,000 customers without power, as of a couple of hours ago. The MBTA is hoping to have normal service restored by Monday, so tomorrow is not going to be a travel day for most people, including me. I got a call to let me know that the church is not open tomorrow (well, technically today since it is after midnight), so I don’t have to go to work.
It took Kelly and I a few hours to clear off the front steps and the sidewalk enough for us to use. I still have to dig out the path to the back doors (in case of emergency) and then the car and the truck. There was no reason to try to drive anyway, because the governor had issued a statewide traffic ban, and since we were well prepared there was nowhere for us to go anyway. And yet there are still some places trying to open tomorrow, which I can understand somewhat, but as long as the MBTA is not running, it is going to be tough for many employees and customers to even get there. And since the parking ban is still in effect in Boston, there is not much point in going anywhere unless you are walking or have a private parking spot.
Massachusetts has weathered (pun intended) the storm much better than a lot of other states, probably because we were so well prepared and we had everyone working off the same page. The state and local governments were all working to ensure that this did not end up any worse than it had to be. And so far only two people have died in Massachusetts. Terrible, yes, but that is a lot better than some of the past storms of this magnitude, and it is better than some of our neighboring states. Connecticut has had five deaths. Maine had a gigantic 19 vehicle accident that ended up blocking both sides of I-295 outside Portland. Without a traffic ban, hundreds of cars got stuck on the LIE in New York, resulting in many people being stuck in their cars overnight. And I love this bit from that article:
Authorities say vehicles became backed up and couldn’t pass one another, and mounds of snow from plows made it difficult for them to exit the highway.
Two eastbound tractor-trailers jackknifed in the snow, and even a snowplow driver became stuck.
“It has been a miserable experience for all who didn’t heed the warnings not to drive,” a police spokesman said.
Yep. Given the option, many people will choose to believe bad things cannot happen to them and that they will be fine, regardless of what the experts say. This is why it is better to stay off the roads, and why I think Massachusetts made a smart choice. Sure, you may have a 4 wheel drive vehicle, and you know how to drive on snow. But you cannot control what other people are doing. So in the case of the Long Island Expressway, a couple of jackknifed trucks ended up blocking the road for everyone. New York did not close roads until it was too late, and now because of all the stuck and disabled cars they have closed the LIE indefinitely. There was even at least one snowplow that got stuck. Lord knows how long it will take to get all of them removed. And they are lucky that no one died. Truly lucky.