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Records Fall With The Snow In Boston

          The third major snowstorm in as many weeks hammered New England Monday, setting snowfall record totals in eastern Massachusetts where some roofs gave way under the weight of the snow. The state’s largest public transit system came in for sharp criticism from Governor Charlie Baker.

             Baker dropped by a highway maintenance depot in Boston Monday afternoon to thank weary snowplow drivers who have been working with few breaks since the first flakes from the latest storm started to fall late Saturday.

             Baker, who ordered state government offices closed Monday and urged businesses to let workers stay home, said he was frustrated by the performance during the snowstorm of the MBTA.

             " There are a lot of people at the T who I know have  been working extremely hard, but this performance is simply not acceptable," declared Baker.

              The T, as the greater Boston public transportation system of buses, trains and commuter rail cars is known,  had planned to operate on a reduced schedule Monday, but even that proved too ambitious.

             Service on one subway line was suspended Monday morning after a train stalled between stations south of Boston. About 85 passengers were escorted off the stalled train to shuttle buses. Several commuter trains were canceled.

              The T has been hampered by problems since last week’s snowstorm.  Baker said he’ll seek a “debrief” from MBTA officials.

             " When the weather is bad the public transit system has to work," said Baker.  " This can not happen again."

              Eastern Massachusetts is seeing snowfall records obliterated. Some areas were forecast to pick up two feet of snow from this latest storm.  Boston has recorded 68.4 inches—the snowiest 30-day period on record.

              The snow is putting a strain on some structures.  Three roof collapses were reported Monday according to Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge.

            " These were industrial-type buildings. There were no injuries. Certainly it is something we are concerned with this added snow, this added weight," said Judge

               Officials are struggling to find places to physically move the snow as vacant lots used as snow dumps are full.  Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton said municipalities can apply for a waiver to dump plowed snow into the ocean.

            " This is an emergency situation, this it not standard practice. First and foremost the protection of the harbor and waterways is paramount in our decision making," Beaton said.

               Snow days are beginning to add up to five or six now for most public schools in Massachusetts. Baker said the school officials may have to consider holding classes during April vacation, or on Saturdays, as he is not inclined to endorse a waiver from the state requirement for a 180-day school year.

             " I'd be pretty hard pressed to move off that," Baker said.

                  More than 400 flights were cancelled Monday at Boston’s Logan Airport.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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