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Travel Bans Lifted In CT and Western MA, Eastern Portions Hardest Hit

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People in parts of the Northeast can expect to return to normal soon after a winter storm swept across region Monday and today.In Massachusetts, the travel ban in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties has been lifted except for I-90. The ban remains for the eastern part of the commonwealth, which has seen more snowfall with totals near 3 feet.  As of Tuesday afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker says Massachusetts is dealing with two different storms.

“There’s a storm that’s west of Worcester that appears to be relatively moderate, manageable and pretty well dealt with,” Baker said. “There’s a storm – Worcester east which in some parts of eastern and central Massachusetts is putting down as much snow as it has at any point since it started at midnight. We fully expect that there are parts of eastern and central Massachusetts where people may get as much as another 5-10 inches of snow on top of what they already have. There are areas around eastern Mass at this point that you would probably describe as being in a whiteout-type condition.” 

Because of high winds and coastal flooding, Baker says a seawall was breached in Marshfield that took out an unoccupied home, while the state is prepared for another high tide around 4. The largest power outage occurred in Nantucket, where more than 10,000 National Grid customers lost power. Kurt Schwartz, director of the state’s Emergency Management Agency, says parts of the island are being powered by pre-staged generators.

“Permanent service has yet to be restored, but they’re making progress,” Schwartz said. “There is a shelter operating in Nantucket. We’ve been in touch, they have capacity. If people in Nantucket need to get out of their cold homes they can go to the shelter on Nantucket. Nantucket [Cottage] Hospital is running on generator power and is fully functional. Things look promising that perhaps over the next 24 hours power will come back to the island.”

Many parking bans and snow emergencies remain in Massachusetts communities so crews can clear roads and parking lots. Governor Baker expects The T to remain shut down for the rest of Tuesday. Meanwhile, Governor Dannel Malloy lifted Connecticut’s statewide travel ban as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“People responded to our request, that’s why I’m anxious to reopen the roads as quickly as they can be reopened,” Malloy said. “Otherwise people start to lose their faith in what we’re telling them. By closing the roads at 9 p.m. there is no doubt that we avoided hundreds of accidents that otherwise would’ve taken place really representative of a 6-inch snowfall. Stopped bodily injury and that’s to be applauded. So I think we did the right thing in making that call.”

Malloy says once state roads are cleared and treated, crews and some of the 400 National Guard troops staged across Connecticut will go to the eastern part of the state to help communities with their cleanup. As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, Metro-North Railroad is operating on a Sunday schedule, with normal service returning Wednesday. Connecticut’s bus system will also resume regular service Wednesday, while Malloy expects Amtrak to operate as usual tomorrow.

“I assume that there will be a number of school systems that will be closed,” Malloy said. “There may be some private or public universities that don’t open or don’t open on time. On the other hand, I think our main road system will be operational and commerce will begin a return to normal. That’s certainly what we’re looking for.”

In New York, Suffolk County saw the greatest impact with 2 feet of snow. Although travel bans have been lifted, while speaking in Suffolk County, Governor Andrew Cuomo urged those who don’t need to be on the roads to stay home.

“There will literally be about 500 pieces of equipment that are coming – snow plows, dump trucks, front-end loaders,” Cuomo said. “There are 100 National Guard that are on their way here.”

Audio courtesy of New England Cable News.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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