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A slow-moving, worse-than-expected winter storm dropped up to 2 feet of snow on some parts of Massachusetts, after it caused coastal flooding and slowed the morning commute Friday to a slushy crawl.
The National Weather Service extended its winter storm warning until 7 p.m. Friday.
According to the weather service, snow totals of 1 to 2 feet were common across much of eastern and central Massachusetts. As of 3 p.m. Friday, Worcester Regional Airport had nearly 23 inches of snow. As of 1 p.m., Boston had nearly 13 inches of snow.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge said there were reports of flooding and beach erosion during Friday morning's high tide. Coastal flooding reports came in from Scituate, south of Boston, and Revere and Winthrop, north of the city.
The storm claimed a home on Plum Island — no one was home at the time — and officials said they are monitoring a dozen others there that were seriously damaged.
"There is a fear that more of those homes will — at some point, if not through this storm, future events — those homes will be lost," Judge said.
Judge said flooding will remain a concern through Friday, with a coastal flood warning in effect until 9 p.m.
The morning commute became a slushy crawl on most major highways, complicated by spinouts. The speed limit on the Mass Pike was lowered to 40 miles per hour Friday morning.
Gov. Deval Patrick defended the work of road crews, saying they did the best they could to keep up with the snow. He urged motorists to drive cautiously throughout Friday.
"Be patient, take it slow on the roads," he said. "[Friday] morning one of the biggest issues was spinouts, people going a little faster than the conditions warrant, and that slows everything down."
State transportation officials said they had 2,800 pieces of equipment treating roads Friday.
Many school districts canceled classes Friday. Patrick would not comment on whether the school districts that opened on time Friday morning, like Boston, made the right decision.
Boston Public Schools spokesperson Lee McGuire said despite criticism, the School Department and Boston's Public Works Department felt they could have all the schools open and ready for students.
Later in the day, however, Boston school officials said all students who stayed home would have their absences excused. And the school system canceled all afternoon athletic and extracurricular activities.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom
This program aired on March 8, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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