Saturday, 2:15 PM
(Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)
A white blanket of snow covered Boston Common.
By Andrew Ryan and Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff, and Michele Richinick and Stewart Bishop, Globe Correspondents
A howling winter storm has weakened to flurries after dumping up to a foot of snow today in Massachusetts, causing near white-out conditions that slowed traffic to a crawl and temporarily closed Logan International Airport.
The storm is expected to deliver one last belt of snow during the evening rush, dropping another 1 to 1 1/2 inches to once again gum up roads.
"Just enough to slick everything up and make the commute not a whole lot of fun," said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton. "Not as bad as this morning, but still."
During the early rush, drivers inched slowly through intense snow squalls, which left wheels spinning and caused scores of spinouts as cars skidded and slid. No major accidents were reported, State Police said, but there were plenty of treacherous stretches of road, including Interstate 95 in Foxborough and the left lane of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Traffic remained extremely light because officials canceled classes at hundreds of schools and scores of workers stayed home.
"Folks heeded the governor's request to delay their commute to allow crews to stay ahead of this," said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. "Driving is still very, very slow … but the snow is beginning to let up as predicted."
Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing until at least Thursday, which means the sight of sidewalks, stairs, and cars buried again beneath an avalanche of white will remain for some time.
"I am so tired of the snow I don't know what to do," said Gerri Conward, shivering and wiping her runny nose with a napkin as she waited 30 minutes on Dorchester Avenue to catch a bus to work. "This is the worst ever winter I've been through."
On Clifford Street in Roxbury, Dianna Christmas, 60, tried to back out of her driveway, the wheels of her car spinning in the snow with a hapless whoosh.
"I'm tired of all this," Christmas said. "Tired of New England.''
Despite the inconvenience and aggravation, the storm has not inflicted any significant damage. No major flooding or power outages have been reported, Judge said. About 1,000 residents lost electricity in Lunenburg when a car crashed into a utility pole, but service has been restored. There are also reports of a few hundred scattered outages in Essex County, Judge said.
In Quincy, two teenagers suffered non-life-threatening injuries when they were struck by a privately operated snow plow, police said. The plow backed into the teens on Martenson Street at about 7:50 a.m., and they were taken to Quincy Medical Center.
Officials closed Logan International Airport for 42 minutes this morning, but one runway has reopened, according to Phil Orlandella, a spokesman for Massport, which operates the airport. Roughly half of the scheduled flights were canceled this morning, Orlandella said.
Roughly half of the MBTA's 13 commuter rail lines are running on time, with the remainder experiencing delays of 15 to 30 minutes, according to spokesman Joe Pesaturo. Seventeen bus lines are running on snow routes, and subways are running on schedule.
“When you consider the intensity of the storm, the various services are performing quite well,” said Pesaturo of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Snowfall totals ranged from 13 inches in New Ipswich in southern New Hampshire to 1 inch in Barnstable and Chatham on Cape Cod. Weather spotters measured 8.5 inches in Roslindale, 7 inches in South Boston, 10 inches in Salem, and 12.5 inches in Royalston in Worcester County, according to the National Weather Service. Milton received 8.5 inches, and Westfield saw 10 inches.
When the snow does stop falling this evening, 15-to 20-mile-per-hour winds are expected to continue to make driving difficult.
The storm was the second half of a one-two punch that began hitting the region on Sunday. A small blast in the morning yielded 1 to 2 inches in some parts of Eastern Massachusetts by afternoon. It has been a particularly snowy winter. As of yesterday afternoon, 55.8 inches of snow had fallen in the area this season, almost 4 inches more than last year. The average is usually 34 inches.
This morning snow accumulations across the state averaged roughly 9 inches.
"It was not a mammoth storm," Judge said. "But it was a pretty significant."