The streets of Boston were mostly empty Saturday morning because of the waist-high snow. Plows that had gone through made some streets passable but piled even more snow atop cars parked on the city’s narrow streets.
Wind blew huge chunks of snow and slush from the tops of skyscrapers and they landed with a thunk, a startling sound in the quiet. Roads were not plowed in Financial District, a low priority because workers were off for the weekend.
As the afternoon approached and the wind died down and snow tapered off, residents began to emerge and were out taking photographs in public spaces like Copley Square and Boston Common. The crowd was similar to what it usually is on other days.
But because sidewalks were impassable, they walked or cross-country skied down streets, making the job harder for plow drivers.
GETTING THROUGH IT
Westborough, in eastern Worcester County, was buried by about two feet of snow. Most residents said they hadn’t seen a storm like this, at least not since the blizzard of 1978. Worcester had some of the highest snow totals in the state.
‘‘I survived the blizzard of ‘78, I can survive this,’’ said Steve Fouracre, 44. ‘‘I'm waiting for all these plows to do their work. They'll probably be done just in time for work Monday. Yeah, thanks,’’ he added sarcastically.
Some people were already at work Saturday morning. While most downtown businesses were closed, Christina’s Cafe on South Street opened at 6 a.m. as usual to serve breakfast to snow plow operators. Owner Mag Amin, 42, defied the driving ban to commute from his home in Berlin. ‘‘I worried a bit, but I figured I could make it,’’ Amin said. ‘‘I drove slowly, and it was OK. You just need some determination.’’
Kim Lupien, 44, was the only one of Amin’s six waitresses who made it to work, climbing through snow drifts from her home nearby. ‘‘People expect us to be open, so we’re open,’’ she shrugged. Lupien added that she grew up in Maine, where storms like this are common. ‘‘That’s why it doesn’t affect me much.’’
Carol Gagnon, 56, ventured out to buy the newspaper — and ‘‘to keep from going stir-crazy.’’ She was planning to head out on snow shoes later, an activity that last year’s mild winter didn’t allow. But Gagnon was also looking forward to getting back on the road.
‘‘Hopefully this is it for the winter,’’ she said. ‘‘This is enough!’’
A NEW ARRIVAL
The Massachusetts National Guard and Worcester emergency workers teamed up to deliver a baby at the height of the storm.
Maj. Gen. Scott Rice said Saturday that the baby arrived at about 3 a.m. and everyone was fine. He didn’t release details about the family.
He said the guard had emergency vehicles in Worcester to help local public safety because of hilly terrain and heavy snowfall. About 28.5 inches were reported in the central Massachusetts city.
Rice said a National Guard ambulance with a medic took a Worcester EMT to the family’s house and they worked together to deliver the baby.
‘‘You can’t get much better than that,’’ he said.
IN THE DARK
At the height of the storm, more than 400,000 people were without power, but those numbers were starting to drop as the snow slowed Saturday afternoon.
Most were in southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, where there was wet heavy snow and winds gusting over 75 mph.
National Grid Massachusetts president Marcy Reed said hardest hit areas of Norfolk and Plymouth counties may be offline for a few days. She said outages haven’t topped recent storms such as Sandy and Irene.
An NStar spokesman also said some customers are likely to be out for several days.
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth shut down after losing off-site power. Authorities said there was no threat to public safety.
In Quincy, Tiffanie Williams, 41, said she was grateful her electricity came back on at 10:30 a.m. She was hosting a friend who wasn’t as fortunate in the afternoon.
‘‘Just watching the snow accumulate from my condo balcony was amazing and I didn’t lose power until 10:30 p.m.,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I was thankful that I had power until then. I feel very fortunate it was restored in about 12 hours.’’
Williams said the roads around Quincy Center, the city’s downtown, looked pretty clear and she praised the city’s snow removal efforts, which started with plowers early in the morning. City Council members left voicemail messages on residents’ phones and used social media to give instructions on how to stay safe.
Some brave residents came outside to take pictures of the snow mountains, children played in snow that was taller than them and others tried to dig out their cars.Continued...