BOSTON (AP) - Lisa Parisella was ready to dig out her sandals, with spring less than two weeks away.
Instead, the Beverly woman found herself donning her winter boots for a trip to the grocery store Friday to make sure she had enough food for her kids, home from school because of a slow-moving storm that hit Massachusetts harder than expected.
"This was unexpected," said Parisella, 47, an officer manager who took the day off. "They were broadcasting between and 1 and 8 inches, so I assumed it was going to be 1. I was ready to start decorating for spring."
Beverly got off comparatively easy, with about 16 inches, while some areas in central Massachusetts, southwest of Boston and Middlesex County got about 2 feet. The weather service said colder air from Canada was drawn into the moisture-packed ocean storm, making for unexpected higher snowfall.
Gov. Deval Patrick said overall he was satisfied with the state's response given that the brunt of the storm hit during rush hour. Patrick, too, got caught in what he called "the mess."
"I'm satisfied given the conditions. I wish mother nature would shut off at times that are more convenient for plow drivers," Patrick said, describing the late-season storm as more of a "nuisance" than an emergency.
Coastal flooding and beach erosion were an issue on east-facing shorelines.
In Scituate, police Chief Brian Stewart breathed a sigh of relief Friday morning after high tide. The town got some coastal flooding - it almost always does during major storms - and eight roads were closed under two to three feet of water.
"I would say we were fortunate because at this point we have no reports of injuries or major damage," he said.
Northeast of Boston, the storm knocked a home on Plum Island off its foundation, sending it into the ocean. No one was inside and utilities had already been disconnected. More houses on the beach, which have already been condemned, were teetering on the edge of a bluff carved away by storms earlier this winter.
"It's obviously been a very difficult day on Plum Island," state Sen. Bruce Tarr told reporters at the scene.
On Cape Cod, where the storm was expected to be mostly rain, officials worried about beach erosion. The area suffered extensive erosion from Superstorm Sandy in October and a major snowstorm last month.
Boston schools remained open but many others across the state closed, which gave Ryan Reed, 18, and Steven Remsen, 15, a chance to make a little cash.
The two Manchester-Essex Regional High School students refueled at a Hamilton Dunkin' Donuts between plowing jobs. Reed drives the truck, with Remsen riding shotgun.
"I expected to be going to school this morning," Remsen said. "It's good news because I'd rather be out making money."
The major utilities in eastern Massachusetts reported about 7,000 power outages at the height of the storm.
In Whitman, Maureen Chittick's house was one of those that lost electricity for a while. Her grandchildren Nicole Clark, 15, and Gary Clark, 13, came inside for an old-fashioned game with marbles after shoveling the snow out of her driveway.
"I was shoveling and I saw purple flowers underneath," Nicole Clark said. "I thought to myself, 'Summer is never going to come.' I just want summer. Bring on the hot, the beach!"
The good news is that temperatures in the Boston area could approach 60 by next week.
"So hopefully it will all be melted, and I can move forward," Parisella said.
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie, Bob Salsberg and Mark Pratt contributed to this story.
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