Blizzard of 2015: State starts to dig out after travel ban lifted

BOSTON ( -- The state's travel ban has been lifted and residents have started digging out following record amounts of snowfall in the region.

Snow continues to fall in many parts of Massachusetts while temperatures flirt with the teens.

"As the storm pulls away, the winds will ease but stay strong enough to create subzero wind chills overnight and into Wednesday morning," FOX 25 Meteorologist Sarah Wroblewski said.

On Tuesday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh extended a snow emergency parking ban in the city until further notice. MBTA service will resume Wednesday morning, however delays are expected. See what schools are closed here.

UPDATE 11:30 p.m.

Current power outages as of 11:30 p.m.:

National Grid - 7,130
NStar - 10,598

UPDATE 10:15 p.m.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will visit Scituate and Marshfield Wednesday following the damage caused by the snowstorm.

The state's top political officers will meet with local leaders in Scituate at 12:30 p.m. and then with local leaders in Marshfield at 2 p.m.

UPDATE: 9:10 p.m.

Updated snow totals now show that 33.5 inches of snow have fallen in Worcester, making this snowstorm the biggest in the city's history since they began recording snow totals in 1905.

UPDATE: 9:05 p.m.

Current state of power outages as of 9:05 p.m.:

NStar - 9,979
National Grid - 10,862

UPDATE: 7:05 p.m.

Amtrak will resume operation of Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains on a modified schedule with reduced frequencies between New York and Boston on Wednesday.

UPDATE 6:53 p.m.

The blizzard warning for the South Shore, Cape and Martha's Vineyard lasts until 10 p.m. Boston now has a winter storm warning.

UPDATE: 6:15 p.m.

Current state of power outages as of 6:15 p.m.:

National Grid - 12,197 without power (3,000 in Essex County, 9,000+ in Nantucket)
NStar - 15,102 customers without power
Unitil - 0 outages reported
Western MA Electric: - 15 customers without power
PSNH: - 42 customers without power

In Wenham, police estimate that power will be restored to the Parsons Hill Road neighborhood no earlier than 7 a.m. Wednesday.

UPDATE: 5:12 p.m.

The City of Boston's parking ban remain in place until further notice, according to the mayor's office.

"Boston is still in the middle of a winter storm of historic proportions," Mayor Walsh said. "People should only be driving under emergency circumstances. We are doing everything we can to dig out and stay on top of every safety concern, but we need everyone's cooperation. It is not time for anyone to relax or get complacent."

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced he has signed an executive order lifting the emergency travel ban in the state of Massachusetts. The governor also said that state employees do not have to report to work tomorrow unless they are emergency personnel.

The MBTA will open on Wednesday and perform its normal schedule and Logan Airport will be open as regularly scheduled.

UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.

Boston, Worcester and Providence have all now received record snowfall for this day. Boston has received 18.5 inches of snow, besting a 2011 record total of 8.8 inches. Worcester has received 28.4 inches so far, besting a 2011 total of 11 inches. And Providence, R.I., has received 14.2 inches so far, also beating a record set in 2011 of 6.7 inches.

UPDATE: 4:05 p.m.

Mayor Marty Walsh extends the city's Snow Emergency through Wednesday. "The storm is not over. This is not the time to relax," Walsh said. During a 3:30 p.m. briefing he also said they he may cancel school for a third day Thursday, adding he will make that decision tomorrow.

One person apparently suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in Boston while sitting in car surrounded by snow. That person was rescued and was being treated. When asked about how much the blizzard was costing, he said "I'm not concerned about the budget, I'm concerned about people's safety.".
He also took a little shot at the people who save spaces for a living saying this week, the rules are different. He said "if people spend time on shoveling, your space is your space."

UPDATE 4 p.m.

The National Guard has confirmed that it has received a mission request to assist in the evacuation of residents from a neighborhood in danger of flooding as high tide approaches. The National Guard also has teams in the vicinity of Hull and Plymouth, with some 300 soldiers in the state ready to be deployed.

UPDATE: 3:10 p.m.

We are standing by for a briefing by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. He is expected to speak at 3:30 p.m. In the last hour the snow totals for Boston made the Blizzard of 2015 the 8th largest storm ever in the city. Snow totals in Worcester makes this storm that city's 5th biggest ever.

UPDATE: 2:20 p.m. 

Rep. Jim Cantwell tells FOX 25 news that the seawall that fall in Marshfield now has damaged a total of 11 homes. Two others home are off their foundation. Cantwell said erosion in the area has been a concern for years, adding because the 80 foot second collapsed, as many as 100 more homes may be at risk.

UPDATE: 1:40 p.m.

POWER OUTAGES: National Grid was reporting more than 13,700 customers without power as of noon Tuesday, but the vast majority was on the hard-hit island of Nantucket. NStar had about 21,000 outages, mostly on Cape Cod and the South Shore. The outages were well below the hundreds of thousands that state officials had initially feared. Shelters opened across Massachusetts, but Baker said fewer than 200 people spent the night in them.

UPDATE: 1:05 p.m.

Schools across Massachusetts are beginning to make the call about whether to hold classes Wednesday. Boston's Mayor Marty Walsh has already announced all schools within his city limits will not be holding class tomorrow. To see the latest list from schools around the region click here.

UPDATE: 12:20 p.m.

Gov. Charlie Baker has lifted the travel ban for four western Massachusetts counties, including Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire. Says he doesn't know when the travel ban in the rest of the state would be lifted. Service remains suspended on the MBTA.Gov. Baker also said that the MBTA will remain inactive Tuesday. He said snow drifts top 6 feet in some places in parts of the state, adding he was going to "go on a drive" of the area Tuesday afternoon ahead of his 5 p.m. briefing. 

UPDATE 10:15 a.m.

The Blizzard of 2015 was too much for the Marshfield sea wall. The emergency management agency says a section of the wall along Bay Avenue has suffered extensive damage. Numerous homes along Bay Avenue suffered damage, according to officials. So far no injuries have been reported.
People in the area say conditions seem to be still deteriorating in the area as of 10 a.m. This is a developing story. Check back for details.  

UPDATE 9:35 a.m.

Fred Campagna in Dedham says visibility has increased some. He estimates that area has seen 13-14 inches of snow. There is still a chance of another foot of snow in some places today.

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.

Not many people are taking advantage of the dozens of emergency shelters set up around Massachusetts for people left without power during the blizzard. Spokesman for the state Emergency Management Agency says fewer than 200 people have reported to shelters with a combined capacity of more than 7,500.
UPDATE 8:50 a.m.

Worcester says its roads are in rough shape. Snow keeps blowing back on. Focusing on keeping main arteries open. Lots of drifting. 350-400 trucks out right now. In addition to fire - there was a water main break in a commercial area on Higgins St. It did not impact anyone's water. Repaired now.

UPDATE 7:50 a.m.
Unofficial totals are coming in with Plymouth showing almost 16 inches, Shrewsbury 18, and Sandwich had 13 inches of snow as of early Tuesday.   New Bedford, Freetown and Wilmington were reporting 11 inches. Western parts of the state were reporting lower snowfall amounts. The blizzard is also bringing high winds and temperatures in the teens.

Power outages as of 8:20 a.m.:Nat Grid- 13,713 customers without power
  • NStar- 9,575 customers without power
Also, according to Mass State Police, the Oak Bluffs Barracks is reporting flooding on coastal roads and scattered power outages on the Vineyard.

UPDATE 7:20 a.m.

Mass officials in Framingham said the Pilgrim power plant has been shut down due to storm, adding the plant can last on generators for about a week. They did not estimate when it would reopen, but said the goal was to get transmission lines back up as soon as possible.

Gov. Baker: travel ban may be lifting at some point Tuesday. Next update at noon.

UPDATE 7:00 a.m.

Gov. Baker to give briefing on overnight developments from the Blizzard Warning.  Starts briefing saying, "So far, so good." (Watch the press conference.)

UPDATE 6:15 a.m.

Power outage update:
  • National Grid- 3,914 customers w/o power
  • NStar- 6,228 customers w/o power
  • WEMCO- 0 Customers w/o power
UPDATE 5:40 a.m. Gov. Baker Tweeted a photo of his drive into work saying, "5:40 AM on Route 9. Looks like a snow day to me. Thanks for the help everyone!" He has a 7 a.m. news conference scheduled from the Framingham "blizzard bunker" which FOX 25 will carry live on TV, on line and in our app.

 UPDATE 4:30 a.m.

High tide is moving in with some reports of flooding in Hull. Watch a RAW video driving through Hull.

 UPDATE 3:30 a.m.

Wind gusts of 78 miles per hour were reported on Nantucket and a 72 mph gust was reported in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard.

The high winds combined with high tide are expected to cause moderate to major coastal flooding.

 UPDATE 2:40 a.m.
A multi-family home catches fire in Worcester. Everyone escaped, including a pregnant woman. Crews had trouble getting to the home because of the snow and high winds also hampered the effort. One neighbor said he heard a boom before seeing fire, which could mean it was sparked by a transformer explosion.

UPDATE 1:15 a.m.

Power outages:

National Grid- 1,116 customers without power
NStar- 383 customers without power

UPDATE 11:50 p.m. Monday Jan. 26

Power outage update: National Grid- 1,628 customers without power
NStar- 179 customers without power

UPDATE 10:15 p.m. Monday Jan. 26

Governor Charlie Baker updates the public on storm preparedness as Tropical Storm force winds produce horizontally falling snow.

"When you wake up, it is going to look like a blizzard anywhere you go in the Commonwealth," Baker said.

UPDATE 10 p.m. Monday Jan. 26

The Massachusetts National Guard activated 500 Guardsmen to help clear roadways, help with shelter operations, health and wellness checks, and transportation operations across the state for the blizzard.

UPDATE 9 p.m Monday Jan. 26:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, all tolls on the Mass. Pike, Tobin Bridge and Harbor Tunnels will be waived in both directions. In the interest of driver safety, the MassDOT said, tolls will be waived until further notice.

UPDATE 8:10 p.m. Monday Jan. 26: BREAKING: Scituate has shut off power to five streets in flood zones.

High school is open as a shelter for residents on these streets, however there is no mandatory evacuation for those residents. The streets in question are Lighthouse, Rebecca, Turner, Oceanside and Surfside.

UPDATE 7:25 p.m. Monday Jan. 26: The Postal Service has canceled all deliveries and pickups on Tuesday Jan. 27 because of the severe weather.

UPDATE 7 p.m. Monday Jan. 26: A Blizzard Warning is now in effect until 1 a.m. Wednesday for much of Massachusetts, and a Winter Storm Warning is in place for the rest of the state.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke with FOX 25 about storm preparedness, the city's parking ban, and his decision to close Boston Public Schools on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Amtrak has suspended service between Boston and New York City for Tuesday.

UPDATE 6 p.m. Monday Jan. 26
Governor Baker updated the public on storm preparedness, and stressed that most cities in Massachusetts would be implementing parking bans if they had not already. The state Fire Marshal stressed the importance of clearing vents and never bringing a generator inside for power.

Governor Baker mentioned he was concerned about the tide and winds on the Cape and Islands and along the coast, and said Foxborough may get the brunt of the storm.

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UPDATE 5:20 p.m. Monday Jan. 26

The Steamship Authority said it has suspended all ferry service to Nantucket and is running ferries to Martha's Vineyard on a trip-by-trip basis.

All ferry service has been canceled for Tuesday.

UPDATE: 5:10 p.m. Monday Jan. 26

As commuters rushed to get home, traffic on major highways like Route 128 and I-95 had come to a standstill in some spots. At least one crash had been reported in Boxford on 95 South at Exit 52 when a tractor trailer truck collided with a pickup truck and jackknifed off the road. 

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UPDATE 4 p.m. Monday Jan. 26

Hours before the first snowflake fell, the governor of Massachusetts declared a State of Emergency and a statewide travel ban.  Gov. Charlie Baker declared both at a noon news conference, saying people must stay off the road after midnight. He said that the storm may make the roads "very hard, if not impossible, to navigate." 

Baker has pre-positioned 500 members of the National Guard to be quickly deployed if needed. Baker says power outages are anticipated and that it could take several days for all outages to be restored. He also warned of significant flooding, noting that high tide was coming at the height of the storm.

The FOX 25 Weather Team is tracking a historic winter storm that has the entire Boston region under a Blizzard Warning beginning at 7 p.m. The warning won't be lifted for 30 hours.

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