BOSTON — A relentless storm that dumped more than two feet of snow on some parts of New England was finally expected to wind down on Feb. 10 but not before bringing the Boston-area public transit system to its knees and forcing some communities to consider dumping piles of snow into the ocean to help relieve clogged streets.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker gave another day off to non-emergency state workers who live in the hardest hit areas of the state and the mayor of Boston said schools would remain closed for another day. The storm on top of two others that hit recently has shattered snowfall records for a 30-day period in the city.
To make matters worse, forecasters said more snow was possible on Feb. 12.
Still, some residents were taking it all in stride. “Honestly, I’m OK with it,” said Helen Ferullo, 70, of Weymouth, which had received 26.5 inches of snow as of late Monday. “You can’t change it. The snow is there. You can’t do anything about it.”
Here’s the latest on the winter that just won’t quit.
Boston-area subways, trolleys and commuter rail trains ground to a halt at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 and were scheduled to remain idle on Feb. 10, with only limited bus service continuing. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it needed the break to clear snow and ice from tracks and to assess equipment damaged by the spate of storms.
“If they’re not going to be operating well, then they shouldn’t be operating at all,” said Joseph Dell’Erario, 24, as he took one of the last trains home to Somerville before the shutdown.
Baker said he was frustrated by the problems on the MBTA, the nation’s oldest transit system, and promised a “long conversation” with T officials on how to improve matters once the weather subsides.
Amtrak canceled portions of its passenger train service linking upstate New York to New York City because of the storm Feb. 9 and hundreds of flights were canceled at New England airports. Officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport said they hoped normal passenger service would resume by midday Feb. 10.
SNOW PLOW DEATH
A 60-year-old man who had just finished work at a supermarket bakery in Medford, Massachusetts, was struck in a parking lot by a private snow plowing truck and died after being taken to a hospital, authorities said. Police interviewed the driver of the snow plow but no charges were immediately filed in the death of Cesar Moya.
MORE SNOW, LESS DOUGH
The steady run of winter blasts has already sucked up over 70 percent of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation winter maintenance budget. Rhode Island, too, said the storm will use up what’s left of its $14 million budget for snow removal and nearly the entire salt stockpile. The Mayor of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said snow removal was eating up so much of the city’s budget that he ordered officials to hold off on hiring new personnel or purchasing non-essential items. Baker has asked Massachusetts lawmakers for an additional $50 million in snow removal funds even as the state grapples with an overall budget deficit of $768 million.
OCEAN DUMPING APPROVED
Massachusetts environmental officials gave cities and towns with no place else to put accumulating snow the green light to dump some into the ocean or other bodies of water if necessary.
The Department of Environmental Protection cited the challenges involved in getting rid of the historic snowfalls. Local communities may seek permission to take emergency steps that allow disposal of snow into open water, which is normally prohibited.
Officials also were using giant melters to liquefy snow.
Massachusetts emergency management officials urged residents and business owners to take steps to clear snow from roofs vulnerable to collapse under the weight of the snow. Several partial roof collapses were reported on Feb. 9, including at a building in Quincy that was the former set of The Finest Hours — a Disney film about a Coast Guard rescue of crewmen aboard an oil tanker wrecked off Cape Cod during a 1952 blizzard. The movie starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck is scheduled to open next year.
Two high-profile Massachusetts trials have been further delayed by the snow. State court officials said testimony in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez would not resume until Feb. 11. Jury selection for the federal trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, also was called off on Feb. 10.
OVERHEARD ON THE STREETS
“They were pretty much walking around like zombies. They’ve been working for 20 hours straight.” — Carrie Sullivan, describing plow drivers eating at her Weymouth diner.
“I’m really getting sick of the snow. It’s relentless.” — Matt Beauregard, owner of the Capital Deli in Concord, New Hampshire.
By Bob Salsberg and Denise Lavoie. AP writers Amy Crawford in Westborough, Massachusetts; William J. Kole, Mark Pratt, Rodrique Ngowi, Steve LeBlanc and Philip Marcelo in Boston; and Rik Stevens in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report