Cape Cod Digs Out From First Major Winter Storm of 2017

HYANNIS – The first major winter storm of the season dumped over a foot of snow on some towns Saturday and brought Cape Cod to a crawl.

A blizzard warning that was in effect for most of the day on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket expired in the early morning hours Sunday. The storm came from a low pressure system off the coast of South Carolina that intensified and moved southeast of New England.

According to the National Weather Service, the jackpot in Barnstable County was Bourne, with 13.8 inches of snow.

Other totals ranged from 12.5 inches in South Yarmouth, 12 inches in Harwich, 10 inches in East Falmouth and 9 inches in Brewster.

Lingering snow squalls could accompany an arctic front and bitterly cold temperatures from early Sunday into Monday morning, with a warming trend evolving by Tuesday.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich Port as heavy snow falls on Saturday

“We’re talking about lows near 10 degrees on the Cape for Sunday night, and maybe even single numbers,” said CapeCod.com weather forecaster Dave Read.

He also said we may want to get ready for more of this snowy weather thanks to La Nina.

“This year with the track of La Nina, it is right in the New England area. That means we are right on the line for getting a pretty good winter this year,” said Read.

Maximum wind gusts across the region during the height of the storm ranged from 52 mph on Nantucket, 48 mph in Orleans, 46 mph in Woods Hole and 41 mph in Sandwich.

As the storm was raging Saturday night, reports came in just before 10 p.m. that a fisherman went overboard from a vessel at MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown and was being pulled out by the current.

Provincetown Police and Fire responded along with the Harbormaster and U.S. Coast Guard. The unidentified man was brought back to the pier where an ambulance was waiting to evaluate him.

He was taken to Cape Cod Hospital and his condition unknown early Sunday morning.

The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) decided against activating the Regional Shelter System Saturday afternoon.

The committee held a planning conference call in the morning to review the latest forecasts and determined that the system wasn’t need since it was a fast-moving storm and temperatures were expected to moderate later in the week.

“If conditions change than we will have to re-evaluate that decision, but at present, we will not be opening the Emergency Shelter System,” said Public Information Officer Kevin Morley on Saturday afternoon.

Officials advised the public to be prepared for winter weather conditions and refrain from driving during the storm yesterday to enable highway crews to treat and clear the roads.

The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority cancelled all Cape Cod RTA fixed route and DART service Saturday. DART service will also be canceled Sunday morning.

Plymouth and Brockton Bus Lines cancelled all service between Cape Cod and Boston after the 1:45 p.m. run from Logan Airport to Hyannis. Peter Pan Bus Lines cancelled all service between Woods Hole and Providence and Woods Hole and Boston.

The Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis closed at 12 p.m. Saturday.

Assistant Airport Manager Katie Servis said crews would continue to plow the runways throughout the storm, but it was unknown when they would re-open.

“It’s just going to be a challenge for our staff to keep up with that blowing snow. Typically in any type of storm, what we try to do is we concentrate on one runway and one taxiway,” said Servis.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency in Framingham increased its activation alert to Level II during the storm to support local and state storm response needs.

At one point, MEMA said Martha’s Vineyard recorded 4 inches of snow in one hour Saturday afternoon. Snowfall on the Cape was falling at 1-to-2 inches an hour by late in the day.

State and local police responded to several minor accidents throughout the day, but there were no reports of serious injuries.

Some of the more serious crashes happened in Bourne and Harwich.

Eversource had crews ready to go if there were any reported power outages throughout the Cape as a result of the storm.

Spokesman Mike Durand said that the maintenance and equipment upgrades that they have done throughout the year have prepared them for storms like this.

“We will have extra crews because you certainly need the staff to make the repairs, but some of things that we have done over the year and the years have really helped us in terms of responding to power outages caused by this type of weather,” said Durand.

Utility officials stress that if you see a downed line, stay away.

“If you come across a downed power line, absolutely stay away from it. You never know if it’s a live line or not and we recommend that people who do see that to call the local emergency officials and us,” said Durand.

By MATT PITTA, JUSTIN SAUNDERS, JAY ROGERS and BRIAN MERCHANT

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