Time to dig out: South Shore buried under record-breaking snowfall

·5 min read

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Saturday's nor'easter was a record breaker.

In total, more than 2 feet of snow fell on the South Shore. At 27.5 inches in Milton, it pushed the region over the top for the snowiest January on record at the Blue Hill Observatory. Quincy was left under 30 inches of snow, and Braintree got 23 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

“I came out four times to shovel (Saturday) because I knew I was going to get buried and my staircase tends to just accumulate snow, which it did," Quincy resident Susan Rossini said Sunday. "So I would have been trapped in my house if I hadn't done it that way."

Rossini’s pickup truck was parked on the side of the road in front of her house during the snowstorm, and the bed filled with snow. Rossini was then left to dig her way out, and made a pile of snow taller than she is.

Angelina Felix-Rharbi, Rossini’s neighbor, said she and a few others shoveled a walkway and dumped all the snow at the bottom of her driveway. Then kids took turns jumping off her front porch into the pile.

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“I absolutely love the snow,” Felix-Rharbi said. “Last snowstorm I made (my 5-year-old son) go outside. We were out there for like three hours, but not this (time). It was too windy. He went out yesterday for like five minutes and came right back in.”

Quincy's Furnace Brook Golf Course was a hot spot for sledding Sunday, and Eleanor Dowling took her her 5-year-old daughter Colby to race down the hills. Colby didn't last long in the snow Saturday, but was soaking it all up Sunday.

“This storm was up to my expectations as far as snowfall," Eleanor Dowling said. “She played for about a half an hour. The wind was quite bad. Then she had hot cocoa."

Eleanor Dowling, of Quincy, took her her 5-year-old daughter Colby sledding at Quincy's Furnace Brook Golf Course on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.
Eleanor Dowling, of Quincy, took her her 5-year-old daughter Colby sledding at Quincy's Furnace Brook Golf Course on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.

Widespread failures avoided, power still out for hundreds

More than 1,500 South Shore residents were without power Sunday morning.

About 800 Eversource customers in Marshfield, Duxbury and Humarock, along with 500 more in Plymouth and scattered homes in smaller communities, were in the dark Sunday. About two dozen National Grid customers in Pembroke, Scituate and Cohasset were without electricity Sunday morning.

Utility crews work on twisted and downed wires in the Ocean Bluff neighborhood of Marshfield on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.
Utility crews work on twisted and downed wires in the Ocean Bluff neighborhood of Marshfield on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.

Officials from several municipalities said pre-storm meetings with National Grid indicated there would be a 72-hour timeframe, starting Sunday, before power would be restored.

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Snow brought few major problems

In a call about noon Saturday, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch said the city has a lot of work to do before the roads and sidewalks are cleared.

“When you talk about this amount of snow ... it’s going be a challenge for a sidewalk plow to get through some of this," he said.

The high tide Saturday morning didn't cause too much trouble, he said, and new sea walls held up. Quincy Shore Drive was closed due to some "splash over" early in the morning.

Much of Brant Rock in Marshfield was underwater as high tide hit about 8 a.m. Saturday. High tides rose past Town Pier Road. A nearby parking lot was flooded, water rising to a few inches above the asphalt, and a few drivers were forced to turn around when they hit Bryant Street. Rising waters flooded Foster Avenue, several numbered roads, Plymouth Avenue and Brant Rock.

Downed poles and wires on Foster Avenue in Marshfield on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.
Downed poles and wires on Foster Avenue in Marshfield on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022.

Marshfield Harbormaster Mike DiMeo said the town hadn't needed to rescue anyone as of Saturday afternoon. A combination of the morning's high tide and shifting winds made the flooding worse than the town expected, DiMeo said, though Marshfield has had worse flooding before.

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Warren Avenue, between Cliff Street and Plantation Highway, and Water Street, between Union and Brewster streets, were closed in Plymouth late Saturday because of the high water, the police department said.

Cohasset police reported that the MBTA tracks on Spring Street were cleared as of about 1 p.m. Saturday after a truck skidded onto the rails earlier in the day. The incident delayed the Greenbush commuter line for 30 minutes, the department said in a tweet.

Scituate Public Works Director Kevin Cafferty said Saturday afternoon that poor visibility on the roads was hard on the town's plows. Near white-out conditions worsened as the day went on.

Baker: Avoid travel Saturday, Sunday

On Friday, several South Shore communities declared a snow emergency, including Quincy, where it has yet to be lifted.

As a Patriot Ledger reporter drove up Route 3 on Saturday, several cars were stuck in the snow between an exit and the highway.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday urged residents to avoid non-essential travel.

“We are actively monitoring this weekend’s winter storm, and we are urging residents to stay home and to allow crews to safely treat and clear roadways,” Baker said. “We will keep the public informed, and we remind everyone to please check in on neighbors in need and to assist in keeping sidewalks and fire hydrants clear.”

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Reporters Alexandra Weliever, Alyssa Fell and Mary Whitfill contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: South Shore blizzard: Live coverage of the aftermath