Cape Cod Digs Out From First Major Winter Storm of 2016; More Than a Foot in Several Locations

Snow piles up outside a home in Harwich during Saturday's storm

Snow piles up outside a home in Harwich during Saturday’s storm

HYANNIS – Cape Cod is digging out from the first major winter storm of the season that dumped more than a foot of snow in some locations.

The snow began falling shortly after 12 p.m. and picked up in intensity through the afternoon and into the evening. The National Weather Service upgraded a winter storm warning to a blizzard warning as the winds increased to 30-to-40 mph.

Forecasters said the snow would come to end early Sunday. Total accumulations across the Cape and Islands ranged from 10-to-15 inches. One of the jackpot locations was East Falmouth with 15.3 inches. Harwich, Dennis Port and Hyannis all had reports of 14 inches. A solid foot came down in Yarmouth Port, Brewster and Mashpee.

On Martha’s Vineyard, Oak Bluffs recorded more than a foot. A snow emergency was declared on Nantucket during the day Saturday.

Eversource said they were prepared to respond to power outages throughout the storm. Spokesman Mike Durand said they’ve had equipment staged and ready to respond to outages.

“Based on what we’ve been seeing, we’ve made the decision to staff up with line personnel and support staff, really across our service area, said Durand. At the height, about 4,000 customers were without power on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.

National Grid also reported multiple outages on Nantucket throughout the storm. Only a handful of customers were still without power early Sunday.

There were some concerns about minor coastal flooding along Cape Cod Bay early Sunday during the high tide cycle.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation worked to keep their state roads open during the winter storm.

Highway Administrator Tom Timlin said crews began pre-treating highways in advance of the snowfall, and have hundreds of crews at work.

“Some of the things that we like to remind people is that if our salt is hitting your windshield, you’re too close to our plows. The roadway condition behind the plow is always better than the road conditions in front of the plows,” said Timlin.

He urged people to stay off the roads for the duration of the storm.

“Anything they can do to keep themselves safe, their families safe, be off the roads, allow our equipment as much room as we need to do our job,” Timlin said.

KA_Snow Storm_Snowing_Orleans_January 2016 First Storm_012316_012The blizzard conditions that settled over the Cape and Islands brought air travel to a standstill.

The Barnstable Municipal Airport ceased operations at 2:20 p.m. as the snow began to pile up.

Servis said their plows tried to keep up with the snowfall during the night.

“Our team tries to keep moving along as much as they can so that they won’t have a huge pileup when the time becomes available for us to open,” said Servis.

The airport re-opened at 7:35 a.m. on Sunday.

“Our crews worked through the evening to get ahead of the storm,” Servis said. “It was difficult for the first few hours of that storm but all is well now and we have at least one runway and taxiway that’s open to our airlines.”

The storm that impacted Cape Cod on Saturday hammered the mid-Atlantic states and portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York City.

Officials said the 26.8 inches of snow that fell in New York City’s Central Park is the second-most recorded since 1869.

The National Weather Service announced the new snowfall total just after midnight Sunday. That narrowly misses tying the previous record of 26.9 inches from February 2006.

Officials began keeping records on snowfall totals in 1869.

Snow stopped falling in New York City shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday night.

A travel ban to keep non-emergency workers off the roads was set to be lifted by early Sunday morning. Transit officials suspended above-ground train service.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan ordered the immediate closure of the entire 34.7-mile length of I-270 and I-70 from I-81 in Washington County to the Baltimore Beltway Saturday night. The highways remained closed until 7 a.m. on Sunday to all motorists except for emergency personnel. The closures follow snow related traffic incidents involving several tractor trailers and other vehicles on both interstates.

Hogan, in a news release Saturday evening, said, “Closing I-70and I-270 will give us the time needed to deploy all our resources to clear these essential interstates as quickly as possible as we prepare to get our transportation network back up and running.”

A university basketball team and a university gymnastics team whose buses were marooned in snow on the Pennsylvania Turnpike are heading home.

Buses carrying the Duquesne University men’s basketball team and the Temple University women’s gymnastics squad were among more than 500 vehicles that got stuck on the turnpike Friday night as a blizzard hit the region.

National Guard members and front-end loaders started digging vehicles out Saturday. The teams say they their buses were freed Saturday night. Duquesne says 15 basketball players, coaches and support staff members helped push their bus through the snow.

Two airports in the Washington region will likely remain closed through Sunday.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, said Saturday evening in a statement that the airports continue to experience significant snowfall.

The authority says the snow and high winds are making snow removal on the runways, roadways and parking lots difficult. Add that to the closure of roads and public transportation, and the authority says it is unlikely that normal flight operations would resume Sunday.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO

CCB MEDIA PHOTO

The authority says passengers should contact their airline directly for specific flight information and to re-book any flights if necessary. The authority says it will continue to evaluate conditions to make decisions about when to open the runways.

Nearly 30 inches of snow had reportedly fallen at Dulles as of 8 p.m. The blizzard has brought much of the East Coast to a standstill and shut down the nation’s capital. At least 18 deaths have been blamed on the weather.

At least 18 deaths along the East Coast have been blamed on the weather, resulting from car crashes, shoveling snow and hypothermia.

By MATT PITTA, BRIAN MERCHANT, ADAM FORZIATI, WAYNE WHITE AND JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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