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Crews Clean Up Northeast Blizzard


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

As New England digs out from under a record-breaking snowstorm, sad news from Boston. The fire department says a boy is dead and his father in a hospital after their car filled with carbon monoxide. Snow covered the tailpipe, forcing the deadly gas into the car, where the two apparently were trying to stay warm.

Meanwhile, on the Massachusetts coast, some neighborhoods are dealing with flooding. The National Weather Service reported waves three stories high off the coast this morning. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered.

NPR's Jeff Brady is in Boston where he's been following storm developments.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Across Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick has lifted a ban on road travel, but he's still encouraging people to stay home. It's going to take time to clear all the roads of the more than two feet of snow that fell. That's making it difficult for utility crews to get to some areas where mass power outages remain. Governor Patrick says crews are prioritizing repairs.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: The Southeast region is the area of the commonwealth that has the most outages right now and where the crews will be concentrating their time and effort.

BRADY: The snow affected more than just neighborhood power lines. Major transmission lines also were brought down during the storm. That cut off electricity to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. It automatically shut down Friday night. Authorities say there are backup generators to run safety systems and there is no danger.

Just south of downtown Boston near the Old Harbor, snow drifted up over the hood of cars in a hotel parking lot.

LARRY ROBERTS: I'm Larry Roberts. I'm the food and beverage manager for Amtrak over here in Boston. We're spending the night here in the hotel because tomorrow, we're expecting to run trains, we hope.

BRADY: So what are you doing right now?


ROBERTS: Well, I'm trying to dig my car out. It's got a layer of ice and a layer of snow on it.

BRADY: Roberts wants to drive over to the Amtrak commissary to make sure food will be ready when the trains start running. South of here in New York, the Long Island Expressway was littered with cars and trucks stuck in the snow.

FRANKLIN SIMPSON: You know, it's like I'm in Siberia, Russia.

BRADY: Truck driver Franklin Simpson was still stuck this morning, and he was not happy about it.

SIMPSON: I tell the police I'm stuck in the middle of the ramp on 57 going East. Oh, OK, we'll send somebody. Three o'clock, 5 o'clock, 7 o'clock - nobody.

BRADY: Suffolk County police say their own vehicles were getting stuck in the snow - that was part of the problem. But also, many drivers didn't follow warnings to stay off the roads as the storm moved in. In central Connecticut, snowplow drivers are clearing roads as quickly as they can. New Haven received 34 inches of snow, and much of the state was brought to a standstill.

In Vernon, Connecticut, Linda Jakiel is worrying how her pregnant daughter-in-law will get to the hospital. She's already a week past her due date.

LINDA JAKIEL: The only way to get there would be, probably, ambulance if the ambulance didn't get, you know, stuck. I'm more nervous, I think, than they are, but it's nerve-racking.

BRADY: Outside, Jakiel's husband uses an electric snow shovel to clear a walk. Clearing snow - that's the work part of a winter storm, but, of course, the storm brought fun for a lot of people too.

In Providence, Rhode Island, Judy Meissner was cross-country skiing on the freshly plowed road.

JUDY MEISSNER: It's perfect with a few inches of snow on the ground and not icy yet. You can just go really fast and glide really well.

BRADY: It's clear now this will be a record-breaking snowstorm. It was still snowing in Portland, Maine, when the National Weather Service recorded 29.3 inches of snowfall - that breaks the old record set in 1979 by almost two inches. Jeff Brady, NPR News, Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers energy issues and climate change. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.