Storm Floods Roads, Raises Freeze Concerns

Flooding on Nashua Street in Boston (Steve Brown/WBUR)
Flooding on Nashua Street in Boston (Steve Brown/WBUR)

The second half of a two-day winter storm turned to cold rain Wednesday, flooding many Massachusetts roadways and raising concerns of icy roads, roof collapses and power outages.

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By the evening commute, with the rain stopped and the temperature in Boston dipping into the 20s, public safety officials asked residents to stay off the roads as much as possible while crews use chemicals to melt ice. There were also scattered road closures due to flooding.

"As the temperatures go down and the roads start to freeze, it's particularly hazardous to be out," said Gov. Deval Patrick, who reiterated the call for residents to stay off the roads, if possible, until Thursday.

Before temperatures dipped, large puddles were reported on many major roadways, and Highway Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky had crews working to remove snow blocking storm drains.

Marshall Hook, with the traffic monitoring firm Metro Networks, said though traffic was light throughout Wednesday, there were many reports of spin-outs and minor accidents.

"We're dealing with it pretty much in the entire metro region," Hook said.

Crews pull up a snow-clogged storm drain. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
Crews pull up a snow-clogged storm drain. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

Emergency management officials said as many as 35 roofs across the state collapsed Wednesday under the weight of snow and ice — most of them flat-roofed industrial buildings. No injuries were reported.

Officials said there were also several reports of canopies collapsing over gas station pumps.

The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets were evacuated as a precaution, but no structural problems were found.

Peter Judge, of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, feared there would be more roof collapses.

"This additional water in the form of rain is just gonna be absorbed on these roofs and therefore just stress the integrity of many of these structures," Judge said.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, about 900 power outages were reported across the state, many in Fall River and Everett.

Logan International Airport was temporarily shut down until 11 a.m. so crews could put anti-freezing agent on the runways. Most flights in and out of the airport — totaling more than 500 — were canceled, anyway, Wednesday.

A smart car found a unique way to park in Brighton. (Kathleen McKenna/WBUR)
A smart car found a unique way to park in Brighton. (Kathleen McKenna/WBUR)

The MBTA experienced delays on its commuter rails, bus lines, and disabled trains slowed the Red and Green C and D Lines.

The governor directed non-emergency state workers to stay home Wednesday and encouraged businesses to take similar action.

More than 700 schools across the state canceled classes — many for the second day in a row.

On Tuesday, the first phase of the two-day storm blanketed the region, leaving about 6 inches of snow on the ground in Greater Boston. The storm tapered off late Tuesday before phase two followed shortly behind in the pre-dawn Wednesday hours.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

This program aired on February 2, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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