BOSTON (AP) — The sun shone down on much of the East Coast on Sunday, a day after a vicious nor’easter brought blizzard conditions to many areas, and left more than 100,000 customers without power for a stretch that could last into Monday.
Winds that had gusted to more than 80 mph on Saturday died down on Sunday, and temperatures climbed into the upper teens and 20s as people emerged from their homes to dig out.
The storm dumped snow from Virginia to Maine, but Massachusetts bore the brunt of the fury, with the neighboring towns of Sharon and Stoughton getting more than 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snow before the storm moved out.
More than 100,000 lost power at the height of the storm, mostly in Massachusetts. The outages in Massachusetts had dropped to about 40,000 by Sunday afternoon, mostly on hard hit Cape Cod. No other states reported widespread outages.
Utility Eversource said Sunday it had 1,700 crews working to restore electricity in Massachusetts, and customers will have their power back on “by the end of the day Monday, with most before then.”
“We know how challenging it is for our customers to be without power, especially in this frigid weather,” Eversource Vice President for Electric Operations Bill Ritchie said in a statement.
Forecasters watched closely for new snowfall records, especially in Boston. The Boston area’s modern snowfall record for a winter storm is 27.6 inches (70 centimeters), set in 2003.
The city tied its record for biggest single-day snowfall on Saturday, with 23.6 inches (60 centimeters), the National Weather Service said.
Boston resident Jesse Ledin owns a home-goods rental business startup. He was out walking his dog in the storm, wearing ski goggles Saturday as he navigated gingerly through huge snow drifts and painful wind gusts.
“It’s pretty intense with the winds getting up to 70 miles (112 kilometers) an hour. As for the depth, it’s pretty deep in spots with the wind and the snow drifts, but it’s pretty nasty out and I definitely wouldn’t want to be driving. So it’s nice to be able to walk through these huge snowdrifts and in pretty tough conditions,” Ledin said.
Climate change, particularly the warming ocean, probably influenced the strength of the storm, atmospheric researchers said.
Much warmer ocean waters “are certainly playing a role in the strengthening of the storm system and increased moisture available for the storm,” said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado. “But it isn’t the only thing.”
The storm had two saving graces: Dry snow less capable of snapping trees and tearing down power lines, and its timing on a weekend, when schools were closed and few people were commuting.
Parts of 10 states were under blizzard warnings at some point: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, along with much of the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
The National Weather Service considers a storm a blizzard if it has snowfall or blowing snow, as well as winds of at least 35 mph (56 kph) that reduce visibility to a quarter-mile or less for at least three hours. In many areas, including Boston, Saturday’s storm met those criteria.
Rhode Island, all of which was under a blizzard warning, banned all nonemergency road travel.
Hardy New Englanders took the storm in stride.
Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, jokingly invited the public to his suburban Boston home on Saturday for a free snow-shoveling clinic.
“I will provide the driveway and multiple walkways to ensure your training is conducted in the most lifelike situation,” he said.
Washington and Baltimore got some snow but were largely spared. The worst of the nor’easter was expected to blow by Sunday morning into Canada, where several provinces were under warnings.
Catalini reported from Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Contributing to this report were Associated Press journalists Rodrique Ngowi in Boston; David Collins in Hartford, Connecticut; Jeff McMillan in Scranton, Pennsylvania; Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland; and Ron Todt in Philadelphia.