Metro, Featured Story

City Deals With Aftermath Of Historic Winter Storm Juno

Two days after Winter Storm Juno blanketed Boston with 23.3 inches of snow, the city is still working to recover from the historic blizzard. The snowfall produced howling winds at more than 70 mph that slammed the city and surrounding parts of New England, creating a whiteout that shut down the city.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was forced to declare a state of emergency and a statewide travel ban was issued effective at midnight on Jan. 27. On Wednesday, the city reopened roads, restarted its MBTA service, and reopened Logan International Airport. Most schools, universities, and city halls were closed for a second day.

“Despite the fact that we had record-breaking snowfall in many parts of Massachusetts, we’ve come out of this, I think, in relatively good shape,” Baker said at a press conference Wednesday morning. “I am going to give everybody involved an ‘A’ on this one.”

Winter Storm Juno hit Massachusetts hard, leaving more than 30 inches of snow in parts of Worcester and Middlesex counties. This makes it the sixth-largest snowstorm in the city since 1935. By 9 p.m. on Tuesday, over 10,000 utility customers had lost power, according to NStar and National Grid Officials. Nearly all of the 12,000 residents on the island of Nantucket also lost electricity. Currently, more than 11,000 customers in Mass. remain without power.

“If you’re the one dealing with power outages, you don’t really care that the number is a lot less than expected,” Baker said. “But the fact that we are dealing with 25,000 power outages and not 250,000, I think, is a little bit of a blessing in all of this.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, asked for residents’ cooperation in clearing sidewalks. He advised people to make sure they were not throwing snow in the streets. The mayor also threatened to ticket any public departments or agencies that do not clean up their personal properties, including public libraries.

“We’re going to set the standard on how snow removal should happen in the city of Boston,” Walsh said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.

With the parking ban lifted at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Walsh explained that inspectors would be patrolling the streets on Thursday, ensuring that residents and businesses properly maintained the property.

“The big issues are going to be sidewalks, and what to do with the snow, and how to deal with the cold,” Baker said.

Wednesday evening, Mayor Walsh announced that Boston Public schools would be closed on Thursday as well. According to Walsh, the safety of students is the main concern for the closure, and the mayor plans on resuming school on Friday.

“This is a public safety issue,” Walsh said. “I have grave concerns about the status of our sidewalks and the well-being of students walking to and from their bus stops, or needing to stand in the street when they are waiting for the bus.”

After shutting down on Tuesday, the MBTA resumed its service on Wednesday, although many delays and cancellations were reported. Increased snowfall along with freezing temperatures will cause problems for the T over the next few days, according to The Boston Globe.

The massive cleanup of the mountains of snow across the city will not be getting any help from nature soon. The National Weather Service is warning that more snow is on the way over the next several days—with two to five inches of snow expected in the Boston area on Friday. According to the report, temperatures will be below freezing over the next few days, and could fall to near zero.

Since Monday and by the end of Wednesday, Walsh anticipates the city’s emergency hotline will have fielded more than 16,000 calls and complaints, mainly about plowing the snow left throughout the city. The mayor is asking his public for a few more hours of patience.

“We’re going to get to you,” Walsh said. “We’re going to get to every corner of the city.”

Featured Image by John Wiley / Heights Editor

January 29, 2015