Blizzard Deaths Power Outages

Blizzard Deaths Power Outages, A state of emergency remains in effect today until 4 p.m. as plows continue to clean up a historic snowfall that dumped 28.5 inches of snow on Worcester since the storm began Friday. It was the third highest amount in the city's history, eclipsing the Blizzard of '78 by more than 8 inches of snow.

“I am very pleased as to overall conditions in our city considering the fury of Mother Nature we have been up against. We still have a lot of work ahead to clean up after Nemo but we are in good shape, relatively speaking,” said City Manager Michael V. O'Brien.

“We have had over 28 inches of snow and even deeper in areas of drifts and have experienced wind gusts in excess of 50 mph. Our main streets, secondary streets and residential roads are passable, our electric grid is intact, and our emergency services have been able to traverse the city and respond to all 911 calls throughout the storm.”

Although some flurries remain to the west of Worcester, the 28.5-inch total snowfall recorded at 11 a.m. at Worcester Regional Airport will likely be the city's final total snowfall for the storm, according to the National Weather Service. Only two other storms have dumped more snow on Worcester. The April Fool's storm of 1997 covered Worcester with 33 inches of snow, and a Dec. 11-12, 1992, storm dropped 32.1 inches of snow.

City officials reported that the National Guard and Worcester EMS delivered a baby about 3 a.m. on Vernon Hill during the storm. Ericka Bueno gave birth this morning in her bedroom to Noely, a 6-pound, 13-ounce girl.

Mother and baby were doing great at the medical center's Memorial campus this morning, said UMass Memorial spokesman Rob Brogna.

Otherwise, the city had a relatively quiet overnight, with only a two-alarm fire on Pleasant Street. No one was injured in the fire.

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority is not operating today; and Worcester Public Library and the Worcester Common ice skating rink are both closed until Sunday. Parking is not allowed on the even-numbered side of the street until further notice.

Trash and recycling programs are expected to follow their normal schedules next week.
“My depth of gratitude to the city team and our public safety partners that continue to give 150 percent, to pull our community through, is beyond words. They deserve all the credit and more,” the city manager said.

Electric utility National Grid reported 28 customers in Worcester were without power as of 11:20 a.m., a fraction of the company's 77,595 customers in the city. Among National Grid communities in Worcester County, Webster had the most outages, with 198 customers without power.

National Grid President Marcy Reed said during a conference call that most of its Massachusetts outages were concentrated in Norfolk and Plymouth counties. The utility mobilized 2,000 crews, or about 4,000 workers, to respond to the storm.

“We're seeing some outages in the Worcester area, but literally 1 percent of our customers in Worcester, Westboro, Grafton,” Ms. Reed said. “Down in Webster, the Sturbridge area, it might be 2 percent.”

Northern Central Massachusetts also experienced few power outages. Unitil Corp., the New Hampshire utility that is the parent of Fitchburg Gas & Electric Light Co., shut down its system and regional emergency operations centers at noon. Unitil reported it saw limited outages during the storm.

“We will continue to monitor the winds and respond to any outages as they occur,” Unitil said in a statement posted on its website.

Convoys of utility trucks continued to drive the Massachusetts Turnpike through Central
Massachusetts, headed toward more badly stricken areas on the South Shore.

Few vehicles other than plows traveled Worcester's roads as the storm began winding down Saturday morning. Some individuals began digging out, while Veterans Inc. in Worcester offered to connect others to veterans who could provide snow shoveling services.

“We have available vets,” said Chris LePage, a residential adviser at the veterans' service
agency on Grove Street. “We'll just expedite them to help out.” The number to call is (508) 791-1213.

Elsewhere in New England,, more than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford, Conn., and an 82 mph wind gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched at least 2 feet.

Airlines scratched more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and the three major airports serving New York City as well as Boston's Logan Airport closed.

Flooding was also a concern along the coast, and the possibility led to the evacuation of two neighborhoods in Quincy, Mass., said Fire Deputy Gary Smith.

Snow piled up so high in some places Saturday that people couldn't open their doors to get outside. Streets were mostly deserted throughout New England save for plow crews and a few hardy souls walking dogs or venturing out to take pictures. In Boston's Financial District, the only sound was an army of snowblowers clearing sidewalks. Streets in many places were impassable.

On Friday, Gov. Deval Patrick enacted a statewide driving ban for the first time since the Blizzard of '78, a ferocious storm that dropped 27 inches of snow, packed hurricane-force winds and claimed dozens of lives.

Early snowfall was blamed for a 19-car pileup Friday in Cumberland, Maine, that caused minor injuries. In New York, hundreds of cars got stuck on the Long Island Expressway on Friday, and dozens remained disabled early Saturday as police worked to free them.

About 650,000 customers in the Northeast lost power during the height of the snowstorm, most of them in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., lost electricity and shut down Friday night during the storm. Authorities say there's no threat to public safety.

At least five deaths were blamed on the storm, three in Canada and one in New York. In southern Ontario, an 80-year-old woman collapsed while shoveling her driveway and two men were killed in car crashes. In New York, a 74-year-old man died after being struck by a car in Poughkeepsie; the driver said she lost control in the snowy conditions, police said.

One pedestrian was struck by a vehicle and killed Friday night in Prospect, Conn., state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said.


Popular Posts