The Blizzard of
February 12, 2006
Nor’easter blankets Mass.
Seems like old times
New England takes the
season's first big snowfall in stride
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It started just after 4:00 am, came
down furiously and blowing until after 7:00 pm. I spent the day
inside with my woodstove fired up alongside an overfilled rack of
firewood I'd brought in in anticipation. (Feb.
We'd been spoiled, lulled, by a
record-warm January, so this one was an awakener, a reminder that it's
still February -- the worst month of the New England winter -- and
more is possibly yet to come.
I was out early this morning
assessing the damage; the front-end loader had arrived shortly after
2:00 am so the worst had been moved out of the way -- but there was
still a lot of snow that needed moving around.
(Feb. 13, 2006)
At least my Blazer was visible, sort
of, and the wood racks had been protected again, making the chore of
relocating the white stuff a bit easier once I moved my truck out of
the way then cleared it off.
The mountain of snow was between the
lot and "Chip Ahoy" again, the usual winter scenario. My old
Windex on a pole worked well as a marker for the plow guy this storm,
and the chopping block and wood-hauling cart gave him a range to plow to.
So I went for my "trusty" snowblower,
and discovered it didn't work, again: this time the impeller won't
turn, shear pins are probably sheared off from some wood I picked up
last time out. The starter was replaced this season after the
first snowfall. I wonder if I'll get to use it at all this
One thing to be said about about
shovels -- no working parts to break! Using my ergonomic shovel
(the best invention since the Sears "Craftsman Show-Thrower"!) I cleared
the front of the house to the lot, dug out the SUV.
As usual, the next tactic is to clear
a path across the front of the house around to the sliding glass kitchen
door, for hauling in firewood for survival. The task looked
formidable for me and my trusty shovel.
But you plug away and eventually all
that snow has been relocated to where it's no longer in the way.
The ergonomic shovel sticks out at the curve. If you're in the
snowbelt and don't own one, get one, unless you've got a great back or a
Rounding the corner to the kitchen
door and confronting a big drift, there just beyond sat the reminder of how this should have gone, had the snowblower for once
performed as it was supposed to. Aarrrgh,
maybe one storm, someday?
After relocating that drift all the
way back to the lean-to, finally I dug out my paths of
convenience: one to the bird feeder, the other out to the shed.
(The abandoned Sears snowblower sits where it quit, this time.)
The job was complete by 11:00 am.
It was time for lunch and a nap.
The Boston Herald
Monday, February 13, 2006
Nor’easter blankets Mass.
By Laurel J. Sweet and Thomas Caywood
As fabled nor’easters go, the Blizzard
of 2006 was more Peter Cottontail than Big, Bad Wolf — short and fluffy
without the overblown gnashing of teeth.
“The biggest indicator I have of how bad a storm is how many phone calls
I receive. I’ve not had one phone call,” Boston City Councilor Robert
Consalvo said as of early last night.
“It was easy shoveling. I think Public Works did a great job. The roads
were really clear, they were passable. I was actually impressed. I have
no complaints today.”
Make no mistake, however, yesterday’s day-long crippler, which
ironically eclipsed the coming out of the so-called Full Snow Moon, was
one for the record books.
The 17 inches of powder that socked the North Shore alone also buried by
half a foot the 11.5-inch one-day snowfall record for Feb. 12 that had
stood since 1983.
On Saturday, as Boston was hunkering down, bracing for the worst and
praying for something just shy of disaster, only 19.9 inches of snow had
dumped on the city all season — nearly 7 inches below normal, said
meteorologist Charlie Foley of the National Weather Service in Taunton.
The “normal” snowfall of 26.8 inches for this time of year is now
Brockton measured in at a foot of snow, while Harwich escaped with just
over 8 inches.
Lest anyone forget, last year by this date we’d had more than 4 1/2 feet
from Mother Nature.
Yesterday’s storm “had a lot of fluff factor,” Foley said. “Some people
call it a broom snow — very easy to clear off your car, off the
sidewalk. The other good thing about the storm is it was a relative
The blizzard arrived between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. By 10 a.m., visibility on
the coast was next to zero. When darkness fell, the storm was sliding
offshore. The peak wind gust recorded in Boston was 44 miles per hour.
Foley said those longing for January’s unseasonable springlike warmth
can anticipate some snowmelt by week’s end as temperatures climb to the
Unfortunately, the shorts and shirt-sleeves weather we’ve been enjoying
was mere “happenstance, the luck of the draw,’ Foley said. “The jet
stream was on a more northerly course. That kept the cold air up in
Neither Boston nor state police encountered any major problems yesterday
other than a fatal accident in Boston around 2 a.m.
Other than that, state police spokesman Trooper Tom Ryan said, his
department dealt with “a significant number of spinouts and minor
crashes,” but fortunately not life-threatening injuries.
“Thank God it came on a Sunday,” Ryan added.
Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management
“It was Sunday and people heeded the warning to stay off the roads,”
Judge said. “It allowed the plows to do their work. Plus, it was a very
light and fluffy snow, which really eliminated the threat of power
outages. They’ve really been minimal across the state.”
The morning high tide sent the wind-whipped ocean spilling over sea
walls from the North Shore to Cape Cod, resulting in a handful of road
closures in spots prone to flooding, Judge said.
But, he added, “We’re not aware of any flood-related damage right now.”
Incredibly, Logan International Airport remained open yesterday. Boston
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has canceled school in the city today to give
road crews extra time to return the streets and sidewalks to clear
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The Salem News
Monday, February 13, 2006
Seems like old times
By Amanda McGregor
Yesterday's nor'easter dumped 19
inches of snow on the North Shore, giving residents their first
chance to break out their shovels in 2006.
A blizzard warning was in effect until 7 last night and snow fell as
quickly as 3 inches per hour at the storm's peak. At noon yesterday,
veteran Salem weather observer Arthur Francis measured wind gusts of
56 mph as temperatures fell to 18 degrees. Roads were slick and
local police departments reported various minor traffic accidents
and collisions, but no serious injuries.
Firefighters in Salem responded to a storm-related blaze last night.
An Intervale Road resident's snowblower burst into flames around 8
p.m. Crews arrived to find the blower "fully involved" but the
flames were quickly corraled.
Most North Shore cities and towns looked like ghost towns yesterday
as residents hunkered down and stayed warm inside, not venturing out
much farther than their driveways to shovel and snowblow. Tow truck
drivers were busy Saturday night, hauling away all the cars parked
in violation of winter parking bans. Beverly towed 72 cars overnight
on Saturday and Salem cleared about 40 cars, while barely any
residents left their cars out on the streets of Peabody, according
During high tide late yesterday morning, Marblehead police closed
the causeway and Front Street as waves came crashing up onto the
pavement, but those conditions subsided by early afternoon. The
blizzard conditions kept many stores closed, including the
Northshore Mall in Peabody and the nearby Liberty Tree Mall in
Most Sunday school classes were canceled, as were most worship
Parents of Danvers schoolchildren received an automated phone call
from Superintendent Lisa Dana last night at around 8:30, alerting
them that school had been canceled for today. School was also called
off in Salem and other surrounding cities and towns.
But most local supermarkets and pharmacies managed to open
yesterday, as did local eateries such as Red's Sandwich Shop on
Central Street in Salem, which opened bright and early as always and
saw a steady stream of business, mostly people who trudged through
snow-laden sidewalks, said Red's owner John Drivas.
"It wasn't so bad," said Drivas late yesterday morning. "We opened
on time (at 6 a.m.) and a lot of people are walking." While
yesterday's conditions on the North Shore were fierce, the storm
didn't meet the definition of a blizzard, which requires winds in
excess of 35 mph and visibility of a quarter-mile or less for an
extended period of time. Conditions were close to whiteout at times
with wind chills below zero.
Francis noted the snow's light and fluffy texture helped minimize
the headache yesterday.
"That was a lifesaver for people who had to shovel," Francis noted.
The combination of high winds and low temperatures made it feel even
colder than it actually was.
"It was your typical nor'easter," he said.
Today will be partly cloudy with temperatures in the lower 30s,
according to the National Weather Service.
Yesterday's snowstorm swept the East Coast. As of last night, 26.9
inches had blanketed New York City, the biggest snowfall in the Big
Apple's history since record-keeping began in 1869.
Staff reporter Jill Harmacinski contributed to this story.
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The Boston Globe
Monday February 13, 2006
New England takes the season's
first big snowfall in stride
By Michael Levenson and Carolyn Y. Johnson
The winter's first blizzard dazed
and dazzled but for the most part did not destroy yesterday, as the
skies unfurled a powdery, blowing cascade of white that tempted the
heartiest souls to dance outside, sled, or marvel at thunderous
waves pounding coastal seawalls.
Thankful for the storm's arrival on a Sunday, crews salted, sanded,
and plowed roads that were mostly free of drivers, tow trucks hauled
hundreds of cars, police ticketed thousands more, and trains ran
smoothly as the state became a muffled landscape of blurred
buildings and biting wind.
Authorities, crediting the light, fluffy quality of the snow, said
that while there were many spinouts and fender-benders, no one was
killed in storm-related accidents, and only a few hundred homes had
Logan International Airport canceled most flights, shelters were
crowded with the homeless, and many municipalities, including
Boston, canceled schools today.
For the most part, after a winter of unseasonably warm weather and
very little snow, the blizzard delighted more than frustrated, as
people invented ways to enjoy nature's fury, some by bicycling over
ice-covered roads or parking by the beach and enjoying the ocean's
own drive-in movie.
Coastal flooding was minimal compared with other storms of similar
magnitude, and in some places what did splash over was welcomed with
In Plymouth, giant waves crashed hard at the base of a seawall near
Long Beach, sending spray, sand, cobble, and clumps of seaweed onto
Route 3A. A steady stream of cars and trucks drove through the salty
spray for front-row seats at the seawall.
Clutching cameras, coffee, and the occasional cigarette, passengers
sitting in trucks and cars watched the 6- to 8-foot waves curl
upward, crash onto their windshields, and send foam sloshing across
the parking lot.
The slate-colored ocean turned a brownish tinge as it churned up
sand and silt; the air tasted of salt; wind shook the cars.
David Campbell and his 9-year-old son, Daniel, who had come to see
the spectacle early in the morning, got out of their car, then
danced and howled as a wave crashed overhead, drenching them.
“How often do you have a chance to come out in the wildest weather?”
Layne and Nikole Shriner walked a half-mile in the stinging snow and
salt to visit the beach. They come every year, they said, wearing
snorkel masks, ski masks, and multiple layers.
“This is what we do. . . . We were waiting for a blizzard,” Layne
Shriner said. “Last year, there were rocks as big as a soccer ball
up on the highway. . . . This is the only time you get to see the
ocean like this.”
National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Foley said last night
that it was one of the snowiest storms since the late 1800s, ranking
11th in state history.
By last night, volunteers reported that 17.5 inches of snow had
fallen at Logan Airport, 18 inches in Cambridge and Salem, and 16
inches in Brockton. Nearly 17 inches were measured in Worcester, 19
in South Weymouth, and more than 20 inches in Wilbraham, in Western
Winds gusted to 65 miles per hour, but because the snow was so
light, the gusts did not down as many power lines as officials had
Foley said that much of the snow will be gone by Friday, as
temperatures are expected to climb into the 40s by midweek.
State officials said it was also lucky that the storm struck
Massachusetts on a Sunday, when most commuters are at home and
schoolchildren are safely inside or romping in their yards with
“If this same event had occurred on a Tuesday or Wednesday, this
would not have gone as smoothly as it has,” said Peter Judge,
spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
The storm paralyzed one popular pastime -- shopping at the mall. The
Cambridgeside Galleria in Cambridge, the Atrium Mall in Chestnut
Hill, and the Natick Mall were among at least a dozen major shopping
centers that closed, bested by near-whiteout conditions that
enveloped Massachusetts through much of the day.
Deprived of food courts, mall cinemas, and arcades, many children
At Clarsky Common, a small park in New Bedford, children rolled down
hills or hurtled down on plastic sleds as their parents watched.
“I just looked out the window and said, 'Wow!'” said Brieanna Wood,
9, recalling the excitement of waking up yesterday.
She threw sweats on over her pajamas, a snowsuit, hat, and gloves,
and strode to the park with her father, Donald Brine.
“I'm the one that said, 'Let's go out and play,'” said Brine, 46.
Some shoppers who braved the blizzard took advantage of the few
stores that opened yesterday. Independence Mall in Kingston was
closed, but the Target at the complex was open. An eerie quiet
pervaded the store, as Rob Decourcey, of Kingston pushed his cart
down the near-empty aisles while his 2-year-old daughter, Logan,
“We just drove out to get out of the house,” he said.
Some amateur entrepreneurs sought to profit from the snow, with a
little elbow grease.
Aaron Whittington, 15, and his sister, Makayla, 12, took to New
Bedford's streets with shovels and knocked on doors, offering to
clear walkways for $10 to $15.
While some enjoyed the storm, the snow threatened others,
particularly the homeless who packed into shelters. Workers at the
Pine Street Inn in Boston said the facility had more people than it
could accommodate yesterday, and some 200 people were standing in
Jim Greene, acting director of the city's emergency shelter
commission, said the situation could have been worse. Last week's
bitter cold may have saved lives of many homeless people by forcing
them to seek shelter before the storm hit, he said.
By and large, city officials said they had prepared well for the
storm, sending out 5,000 e-mails and phone calls warning residents
to move their cars or be towed. Still, some failed to get the
message: As of yesterday morning, police had ticketed 4,162 cars and
With main streets in Boston mostly cleared of cars by mid-morning,
700 plows prowled the streets, about 280 linked for the first time
to a Global Positioning System that keeps them on track.
In the past, city officials had complained that plow drivers
occasionally strayed from their designated routes. The city planned
to lift its declaration of a snow emergency at 7 a.m. today, ending
Addressing the media yesterday in corduroys and a sweater, Mayor
Thomas M. Menino said he was pleased with the city's response to the
“Everyone's working together, and I think the city's moving,” he
said. “We're pretty confident that we have this well in hand at this
With the streets desolate, it was time for Wind Blanchett, 37, of
Salem, to indulge his passion: bicycling in the snow. Dressed in a
top hat and ski pants, he pedaled his 21-speed mountain bike over
snow-white streets in downtown Salem.
A native Californian who moved to Salem two years ago, he said he
loves a good northeaster. “It's white. It's cold. It's quiet. It's
the best time to ride,” he said. “You can see everything: the trees,
the houses. . . . It's glorious. More people should go for a ride in
the snow,” he said.
He was not the only one who refused to let the snow get in his way.
The Rev. Arthur T. Gerald of Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury had a
flat tire yesterday but still made it to the pulpit, a half-hour
after the start of the 11 a.m. service. Sixty people came to the
church yesterday, far fewer than the usual 400, but Gerald was happy
for his “flock,” he said.
“Some came from as far as Salem and Lynn and others came from
Randolph but they just want to be in God's house,” Gerald said.
“It's like the postal service; they don't stop delivering mail
because of the weather, and God doesn't stop blessing because of the
Today, many schoolchildren will have another day to play: Besides
Boston schools, schools in Cambridge, Somerville, and other
communities canceled classes. Some districts were planning to wait
until early today to decide whether to declare a snow day.
Kathy McCabe, Megan Woolhouse, Adrienne P. Samuels, and Maria Cramer
of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Alison Lobron contributed
to this report.
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