March 9, 2013 in Nation/World

New England surprised by big snowstorm

Associated Press
 

WHITMAN, Mass. – The late-winter storm that buried parts of the country was forecast to be little more than a nuisance for most of New England. Try telling that to Connecticut and Massachusetts residents who spent two days shoveling as much as 2 feet of snow.

“The forecast was 4 to 6 inches and I think I’m looking at about 12 to 14 inches,” West Roxbury resident Mark Spillane said as snow continued to fall Friday. “I did not expect to have to bring out the snowblower.”

The storm was centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean, and by the time it reached New England, forecasters were focused on the potential for coastal flooding and not snow, which in many places was predicted to reach a maximum of 6 or 8 inches.

The coastline was battered by three high tides during the duration of the storm, the worst Friday morning, when some roads in coastal towns were flooded with up to 3 feet of water. A vacant house on Plum Island, off the northeast coast of Massachusetts, was ripped from its foundation and collapsed into the sea.

But in most places, it was the persistent snow that threw people for a loop.

The National Weather Service reported nearly 13 inches of snow at Boston’s Logan International Airport as of 1 p.m., with more than 2 feet in a few Massachusetts towns and nearly that much in many others.

Charley Foley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, said the higher snowfalls were caused by winds swirling around the storm that subtly changed course from the northeast to a more northerly direction. That allowed the storm to tap colder air from Canada, pick up moisture from the warmer ocean and dump snow on New England.

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