Snowstorm blankets region, but few problems reported

Just days after a Christmas dusting of snow, the region saw its first notable snowstorm of the season move in Saturday. Parts of Massachusetts were blanketed with roughly a foot of snow by the time the storm cleared this morning, before making way for a sunny but cold day.

Inland areas had more accumulation than the coast: Milford had 13.2 inches of snow, Northbridge received 11, and Southbridge and Shrewsbury measured 10 inches.

Foxborough, where the New England Patriots are playing this afternoon, saw 8 inches of snow – all of which had to be cleared before the Patriots face the Miami Dolphins.

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With no major storm-related problems reported, the snow brought a bit of wintry cheer: At the Hopedale Country Club, parents, grandparents, and small children were sledding down rolling hills.

“I just love New England,” said Jim Bartro, 27, of Uxbridge, as he pulled his 2-year-old son, Jackson, in a sled on the same hills where he sledded as a child.

The storm cleared by early morning. Seaside areas such as East Boston and Winthrop saw snow mixed with rain, so accumulations were only a few inches, but even in the Boston area the amount increased going inland: Dorchester saw 3.8 inches, for instance, while Brookline saw more than five.

The National Weather Service in Taunton issued a wind advisory for Southern New England through 8 tonight, classifying the advisory as winds are forecast to be 31 to 39 mph or gusts in the range between 46 and 57 mph, having the potential to down tree limbs, branches, and power lines.

Despite icy roads, Boston and State Police reported no major accidents, and in Boston an overnight parking ban was lifted at 9 a.m.

Utility companies reported scattered power outages, affecting more than 4,000 customers at one point between 3 and 5 a.m., mostly along Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts, where the snow was heavier and mixed with rain. Service was restored to most Sunday morning.

Separately, a circuit outage in Stoneham left about 1,800 customers without power Sunday morning, but NStar said service was restored to about half of them by noon.

What’s left is a sunny day. “A pretty day,” as Allan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, put it.

But with windchill factored in, he warned, “It’s just not going to feel that warm.”

Dunham said temperatures will range in the high 20s today, but a strong northwest wind of 20 to 25 mph, with gusts in Greater Boston as high as 45 mph, will make it feel more in the low teens.

It will remain the same tonight, except it will get colder. Clear skies and temperatures of about 17 degrees will be augmented with wind gusts – as high as 50 mph before midnight – to make it feel more like zero degrees.

On Monday, a high pressure system moving over the area will increase temperatures into the low 30s, but with west winds at 10 to 15 mph, and gusts at 25 mph, “it’s still going to feel a little colder than that.”

The new year will dawn Tuesday with bright sunshine, temperature reaching highs in the mid-30s, and winds at 15 to 20 mph.

In Milford on Sunday, where the snow accumulation was the highest at 13.2 inches, according to the National Weather Service, Rick Bourassa, 47, was using a snow blower to clear out the driveway that he shares with a neighbor. And he was sporting a heavy coat, thick pants, and Bruins hat to keep warm.

“At least the wind hasn’t kicked in yet,” the 47-year-old said.

He didn’t mind the region’s first snowstorm, but joked, “Talk to me after the third one.”

Nearby, his 2-year-old daughter, Marcella, played on fresh snow for the first time. Bourassa’s wife, Laura Bourassa, 28, said their daughter had been looking forward to this moment.

“She’s been saying for the last three days, ‘mama, snowman?’,” said Laura Bourassa, handing her daughter her first snowball, too.

She had told Marcella not to eat the snow, but the 2-year-old replied, it “tastes good.”

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