Residents Begin Cleanup After Massive Snowstorm
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. New England is digging out from as much as three feet of snowfall today, and at least five deaths have been blamed on a powerful winter storm that swept through the region Friday night and yesterday morning. The snow has stopped falling, but more than half a million people still don't have electricity. And in some coastal areas, residents are also dealing with flooding. NPR's Jeff Brady visited the small town of Scituate, Massachusetts.
(SOUNDBITE OF WAVES CRASHING)
JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: The snow was one thing, but this nor'easter also brought a flood of seawater into Kerylynn Krahforst's neighborhood.
KERYLYNN KRAHFORST: It was coming in so fast. It was coming in like a river. It was really scary. And I guess a lot of people left their houses. But some people stayed.
BRADY: Krahforst was among them. At high tide Saturday morning, she said the water flooded her neighbors' basements and came just to the edge of her property. Then it began to recede.
KRAHFORST: I am really lucky. I'm so tired 'cause I've been worrying so much. I'm exhausted 'cause it's cold. I've been worrying and shoveling and all that.
BRADY: Now, Krahforst is waiting for the electricity to come back on.
KRAHFORST: When I woke up this morning, it was 42 in the house. And I have gas logs, and I put them on. And it's still pretty chilly in there. Yeah, I hope the pipes don't freeze.
BRADY: Throughout Massachusetts, a ban on road travel was lifted Saturday afternoon, prompting many to begin digging out their cars. Darryl Lynch spent a half hour digging through the mound of snow drifted against his all-wheel drive car.
(SOUNDBITE OF TIRES SPINNING)
BRADY: The tires are just spinning in the snow.
(SOUNDBITE OF SHOVELING)
BRADY: So, he gets the shovel back out.
DARRYL LYNCH: You know, too, the drift blows snow up underneath the cars. And then they get to the - when the wheels start to spin, the car sinks down and the car's sitting on snow.
BRADY: Lynch gets back in his car and then guns the engine.
(SOUNDBITE OF TIRES SPINNING)
BRADY: You got it.
LYNCH: All you got to do is get a couple of feet in front of the front wheel tires and you're good.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mayor's office. How can I help you?
BRADY: In Boston, Mayor Tom Menino's hotline was busy all day Saturday with city workers answering requests. Most were from residents who want streets near their homes plowed.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What neighborhood? All right. We'll get someone out there as soon as possible.
BRADY: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick also warned homeowners that rain is in the forecast Monday, so getting snow off roofs should be a priority.
GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: With the rain coming on top of the snow, it adds significantly to the weight and therefore the structural risk to some roofs, I think it's a particular concern with flat roofs.
BRADY: Governor Patrick says crews are working hard to get public transit moving again. Without it, the Monday work commute could be a mess. Friday wasn't bad because many workers were given the day off. But throughout the storm, there were some who couldn't quit working, like Erin Rinaldi.
ERIN RINALDI: I am a pet sitter, and people are gone and I'm out checking all of our neighborhood cats and make sure everybody has food, water and is OK.
BRADY: This storm will rank with some of the biggest in recorded history. In Boston, it'll make the top 10 list and likely the top five. And in Portland, Maine, by Saturday night, the National Weather Service said 31.9 inches of snow had fallen. That breaks the previous record set in 1979 by more than four inches. Jeff Brady, NPR News, Boston.
MARTIN: For more of the blizzard that hit much of New England and the storm's aftermath and clean-up efforts, visit npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.