Epic blizzard over, but Northeast is still reeling … and now rainy

As the Northeast digs out from an epic blizzard, rain poses new challenges: ice, slippery roads and paths, and – where wind has not already blown away much of the snow – collapsing roofs.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor
Crews work to restore electricity to residents a few days after the blizzard, Monday, in Scituate, Massachusetts. Local electric companies called in help from around the region. Scituate, on the coast, was one of the towns hardest hit by the storm. Those living on the ocean were hit by high storm surge as well as record snowfall.

The Northeast’s big snow of 2013 is over, but not its aftereffects.

The region's residents are still digging out, navigating roads lined by walls of snow, and in some cases dealing with school closures and power outages. Now comes rain.

The weather forecast for Monday called for roughly half an inch to fall from New York to Boston – the same region just pelted with as many as three feet of snow on Friday and Saturday. That has raised worries of potential roof collapses and a soupy mix under foot that could freeze overnight.

Many people trekked back to work on Monday on newly reopened transit systems, but one online message revealed the storm’s ongoing impacts:

“We continue to work to mitigate the effects of the storm,” said the town website for coastal Scituate, Mass., citing challenges with power outages, floods, and plowing streets with parked cars, and “structural damage to some roads.”

The storm set records for snowfall in some communities, including Portland, Maine. Connecticut communities tallied the largest snowfalls, with some 40 inches falling in Hamden. The states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York also saw some tallies exceed 30 inches.

In Boston, this storm's two-foot totals fell a few inches short of matching the city's record.

But cities were still digging out Monday, and some major school systems including those in Boston and Hartford, Conn., were closed for the day.

The storm was also blamed for at least 15 deaths in the US and Canada, including some from carbon monoxide poisoning when car tailpipes were clogged with snow, the Associated Press reported.

In many ways, however, the region came through the storm remarkably well. Although power outages affected more than half a million utility customers, millions more weathered the high winds unscathed.

By Monday morning, power had been restored for most. In Massachusetts, where most of the outages occurred, about 121,000 NStar or National Grid customers still lacked power as of late morning.

Boston’s “T” subway system began restoring service on Sunday and was running a normal schedule (but with warnings of delays) Monday for customers, including bus and commuter-rail riders.

The region’s airports, which had to cancel thousands of flights Friday and Saturday, are operating most of their regular flights once again. The travel tracking website FlightAware reports that none of the major airports, from Boston to Newark, is seeing cancellations of more than 20 Monday flights.

As Monday’s rain arrived, owners of homes and businesses could be thankful that roofs were laden with relatively light loads of snow, compared with what might have occurred if the storm hadn’t packed such strong winds.

And over the weekend, the blizzard that the Weather Channel called Nemo brought some joy as well as shoveling work to families. Many New Englanders went out to sled, ski, snowshoe, or play under sunny skies.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.