Mass. wakes up to wind-whipped snow - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Mass. wakes up to wind-whipped snow

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New Bedford Friday morning New Bedford Friday morning
Downtown Fall River Downtown Fall River
the Pope Island Marina in New Bedford the Pope Island Marina in New Bedford
An SUV slides off the road in Bourne, Mass. (David G. Curran/ An SUV slides off the road in Bourne, Mass. (David G. Curran/

Massachusetts woke up to nearly two feet of snow in some areas, gusting winds and wind chills well below zero.
But Gov. Deval Patrick said Friday the state has handled the storm well.
The governor said he had not heard of any major storm-related injuries and the state was not forced to close roads. He says most people heeded advice to hunker down to allow plows and sanders to do their work. Power outages were minimal.
He's still concerned about coastal flooding at the mid-day high tide and "extreme" low temperatures expected to continue into Friday night.
The National Weather Service reported Friday that the temperature in Boston was 2 degrees, but 20-below with the wind chill.
Boston got more than 13 inches of snow, with higher amounts north, including almost two feet in Topsfield.

The state Emergency Management Agency reported some minor flooding along the coast.

The state's utilities are reporting no significant power outages.

Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday evening that the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency was transitioning to full activation and that state government would be closed Friday.

He urged people to stay off the roads and that if they need to come into Boston on Friday to use public transportation.

Blizzard conditions were forecast for the South Shore and Cape Cod, and high winds were expected to make it feel below zero across the state.

Patrick sent home state workers at 3 p.m. Thursday due to snowy conditions, and he encouraged private employers to keep their workers home on Friday.

Patrick said 1,600 pieces of equipment are on state highways and he has authorized the National Guard to help out as needed.

"The temperatures will be extreme, and that's a serious hazard not just for ice conditions but for the impact on human beings. We want people to be mindful of that and exercise extreme caution," Patrick said at a noon news briefing.

Snow is falling across the state and will continue through the night and into Friday morning. Predictions call for 8 to 10 inches for all of Massachusetts, but some areas could see up to 2 feet of by the time the storm ends.

Snow could be heavy overnight but an additional concern is frigid temperatures with wind chills well below zero. Coastal flooding could also be an issue at high tide. High winds could knock out power.

Most public schools were scheduled to resume classes Thursday after the winter break, but many districts gave students an extra two days of vacation.

Fall River was one of the first communities in Southern New England to cancel schools Thursday and Friday. Mayor Will Flanagan made the decision Wednesday afternoon, before any other district made the call.  A parking ban is also in place.

"I think it's a good idea. Kids walk to school here in the city. So, for their safety and everybody's safety I think they're being proactive," said Carlos Braga.

Braga spent Thursday morning prepping the sidewalks for his customers at a Dunkin' Donuts store. He had to make the drive to work early from Rehoboth.

"Roads were snow covered, but they were drivable," Braga said.

Most commuters told NBC 10 News that roads were drivable for the morning rush hour. Despite minimal accumulation, safety concerns earned most kids a snow day or an early dismissal.

Rita Gillen said she's glad to see city leaders taking extra precautions.

"The less accidents we have, the better it is. We don't need any catastrophes," Gillen said.

Road crews started prepping Wednesday night, treating the roads with salt brine, which made a big difference during the early morning drive.

Some New Bedford fisherman brought their catch in early because of the storm.

"I was going to stay out until Sunday, but I have a few fish so I figure I might as well unload and try to get back out there Saturday," said Geoffrey Hatfield, captain of the Nobska.

Hatfield said his boat is large enough to handle the choppy seas, but smaller vessels had to come in.

He said he fears if the roads aren't clear, the storm will make his fish cheaper.

"There's so much snow that a lot the buyers may not be able to get down here to pick the fish up," Hatfield said.

Meanwhile, New Bedford highway crews were preparing to keep 300 miles of city roads clear.

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