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Mass. Digs Out After Nor'easter That Knocked Out Power To Thousands

Natasha Fields uses a shovel to remove the ice from the roof of her car parked on Allston Street in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Natasha Fields uses a shovel to remove the ice from the roof of her car parked on Allston Street in Boston. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Thousands in Massachusetts were without power Wednesday after a late-season nor'easter that on Tuesday walloped the state — and a broader swath of the Northeast — with heavy snow, intense winds and rain.

Some 70,000 customers were without power at the height of the storm Tuesday. Early Wednesday that number remained at 15,000. By 4 p.m. it had ticked down to about 5,000 -- mainly in Essex County north of Boston.

"That combination ... of that snow that was kind of like cement combined with the strong winds brought down a lot of trees and power lines," said Chris Besse, of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Besse said utilities hoped to have power restored to all customers by midnight.

The storm did not drop as much snow as forecast on Boston, but rain and cold temperatures left icy roads and sidewalks, making digging out a challenge.

State transportation officials said nearly 700 snow removal crews were out Wednesday morning treating and clearing roads to decrease the likelihood of spin-outs and crashes.

Pedestrians navigate treacherous icy conditions of the sidewalks on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Street Wednesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Pedestrians navigated icy conditions on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Street Wednesday morning. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

While it was back to work for many Bostonians Wednesday, city students got a second consecutive day off, as Boston Public Schools remain closed. The district was among dozens to keep their doors shut for another day.

"I'm not going to risk having yellow school buses on the roads with potential ice in the morning," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told WBUR Tuesday evening. "It's just too dangerous."

The mayor also asked residents to clear sidewalks of snow and check on elderly neighbors.

Boston city employees, however, were due back at work Wednesday. The city also opened community centers where schoolchildren could spend the day if their parents needed to get back to work.

Parking bans in Boston, Somerville and Cambridge lifted at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Both Amtrak and the MBTA's commuter rail were back to running regular weekday schedules. MBTA officials warned passengers to be careful on platforms and trains, as surfaces may be slippery.

Logan Airport was getting back up and running Wednesday morning, though more than 100 flights were delayed or cancelled.

With reporting by WBUR's Lisa Creamer and Benjamin Swasey

This article was originally published on March 15, 2017.

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