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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fierce Storm Shuts Down New England

From:  "Liza" <Cassiopeia@a...>
Date:  Mon Jan 24, 2005  6:28 am
Subject:  Fierce Storm Shuts Down New England


The National Weather Service recorded wind gusts up to 84 miles per hour, 10 m.p.h. faster than minimum hurricane-force winds, and there were 28-foot waves on the ocean.

January 24, 2005

Fierce Storm Shuts Down New England


WESTON, Mass., Jan. 23 - Simply crossing the street was a death-defying mission for Kathleen Farley on Sunday, with her hometown, Chatham, clobbered with snow and scissored with wind in one of New England's worst winter storms.

"It's just total whiteout," said Ms. Farley, who made a valiant effort to cross Main Street in Chatham, at the elbow of Cape Cod, to check on her business, the Red Nun Restaurant and Bar. "Unless you have goggles, you can't even see. It was scary because we couldn't see if a snowplow was coming, and the wind is so loud that you couldn't hear if a plow was coming either."

Down at the Chatham lighthouse, where meteorologists frequently go to measure weather conditions, Ms. Farley said, "The weathermen couldn't even stand up: it's hurricane meets blizzard."

Winter walloped Massachusetts and southern New England relentlessly for nearly 24 hours with indefatigable snow and brutish blasts of wind. By Sunday afternoon, some parts of Massachusetts that had already wrestled with weeks of terrible winter weather had more than three feet of glistening new snow, and the wind was stacking drifts more than twice that high.

The National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., issued an urgent warning on Sunday morning, telling residents, "If you leave the safety of being indoors, you are putting your life at risk."

The service said that in some places snow was falling at a rate of an inch every 10 minutes. At least one death in the region was attributed to the weather. That person, David Nyhan, 64, a former political columnist for The Boston Globe, collapsed while shoveling snow.

Some coastal communities were the hardest hit. The entire island of Nantucket lost power Sunday morning, leaving about 9,400 year-round residents without lights and, in some cases, heat. Residents with electric-powered wells had no running water.

The National Weather Service recorded wind gusts up to 84 miles per hour, 10 m.p.h. faster than minimum hurricane-force winds, and there were 28-foot waves on the ocean.

"The wind is blowing so hard that the house keeps getting darker and darker, because the drifts of snow keep piling up on the windows," said Virginia Kinney, 63.

Beverly Hall, a photographer, said she and her husband were without heat, lights and plumbing. "We've been out getting buckets of snow to melt on our gas stove so we'll have drinking and cooking water, cleaning water, flushing toilets in an emergency," Ms. Hall said.

About 13,000 people on Cape Cod lost electricity, as did about 5,000 in the South Shore suburbs of Boston. And when the midmorning high tide hit the town of Scituate, south of Boston, the waves breached the seawall and drove water as far as 500 feet inland. A few dozen people had to evacuate their homes with the help of the National Guard, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Logan International Airport was closed all day Sunday, as were airports in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Massachusetts remained under a state of emergency, declared by Gov. Mitt Romney on Saturday afternoon. In Rhode Island, Gov. Donald L. Carcieri also imposed a state of emergency and declared that all state and municipal offices would be closed on Monday.

For some the saving grace of the storm was that the New England Patriots missed it. The Patriots won in Pittsburgh on Sunday, and many a fan endured the sacrifice of having to stay snowed in by parking in front of the television set.

Some people ventured out to trudge or ski the streets, or to go to work.

But the paucity of outdoor adventurers helped make the snowstorm much less hazardous than it could have been, said Mr. Judge of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. "It's turned out to be a pretty light and fluffy snow for most of the state, relatively easy to plow," he said, and also not heavy enough to damage too many power lines.

Jason Carriero, 28, who spent three hours shoveling in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, said: "It's not like you have to be a weightlifter to move it. If we had almost three feet of snowman-making snow, we'd be snowed in for two weeks."



Stay in your heart. Regardless of what happens, stay in your heart.




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