The region began digging out from a historic storm under a bright-blue sky Sunday, as crews worked to clear roadways and restore power to the thousands of homes still without it. But the real test could come Monday as people return to workweek routines.
Side streets throughout Boston and surrounding communities remained snow-covered and choked off by plows trying to clear major streets. Many schools were closed Monday, and the day’s weather could bring another twist. Rain could weigh down the already-heavy snow and cause local flooding where drains are blocked.
“Our expectation is to have people resume their ordinary schedules,” Governor Deval Patrick said.
Eight rapid-assessment teams toured hard-hit coastal communities from Quincy to Sandwich. Patrick said the effort by NStar to restore power to homes had been adequate, despite the number that remained without power.
Boston’s parking ban and snow emergency rules probably will remain in effect Monday morning
City officials urged residents to stay in and asked businesses to have employees work from home. Cars parked on main streets will be ticketed and towed. The MBTA said it will resume regular service Monday.
For residents of Clarence Street in Roxbury, like many smaller streets around the city, clearing cars from snowdrifts was just the first challenge. The entire length of the street was still covered with about 2 feet of snow Sunday. And plows clearing Dudley, the cross street, had piled snow 4 feet high at the end.
Jason Barros, 30, and a friend helped to clear a small area so a few cars could pull onto Clarence to park.
“Most of the streets are like this around here,” Barros said. “We’re plowing our own streets.”
He said a plow driver had come by and declared the street un-plowable. A front-end loader would be needed to haul out the snow.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino said clearing dead ends and unpassable side streets is a priority for the city. He asked private contractors and state emergency management officials for extra snow-plowing equipment.
The city also received 20 pieces of equipment from Vermont, city spokeswoman Dot Joyce said.
Until the heavy lifting is done, the city’s snow emergency and parking ban remain in effect.
All down M Street in South Boston, puffs of snow peppered the air as people shoveled. Greg Polson stood on top of his car as he attempted to free it.
“I didn’t think I’d need my car for a while, but then I found out it’s supposed to rain on Monday and realized I needed to get this out before it turns into ice,” said Polson, 26, leaning on his shovel to catch his breath. Two hours into the dig, his car was barely visible.
The storm — which brought blizzard conditions with it but was not officially declared a blizzard as of Sunday — dumped more than 2 feet of snow across much of Middlesex and Norfolk counties. The highest totals were in Worcester County, where 31 inches fell in Spencer. Boston received nearly 25 inches, the fifth-highest snowfall ever for the city.
The storm prompted a two-day shutdown of the MBTA, but many buses and T lines were operating again Sunday evening. The entire Orange and Red lines were running, and most of the Green and Blue line operations were back. Bus service was resuming slowly.
Planes once again were flying in and out of Logan International Airport, which closed from late Friday night until 11 p.m. on Saturday, the longest the airport has been closed in at least 10 years. Logan had two runways open for most of Sunday and operated a full schedule of international flights.
Several airlines, including JetBlue Airways, Boston’s biggest carrier, reported canceling about 40 percent of their flights on Sunday as they repositioned planes and crews after the storm. Most airlines expected to be fully up and running Monday.
Amtrak and several bus lines also restored limited service between New York and Boston on Sunday.
In seaside communities like Scituate, normal operations were further off. The sun was a welcome sight Sunday, melting ice that had encased power lines and tree branches while providing a bit of warmth after another frigid night.
As National Grid crews cleared trees and wires, gas and building inspectors examined structures that may have sustained damage in the storm.
People walking their dogs maneuvered around kayaks and rowboats deposited in the street by the ocean.
Frank Griffin shoveled ice and slush from the steps of his Cedar Point home. His family stayed through the storm but departed before Saturday’s high tide, when the sea rushed in and flooded the neighborhood. They returned once the waters receded and plan on staying.
“We’re hosting the neighbors,” he said, as the sound of his purring generator mixed with the whoosh of the waves. “It’s a party.”
In Boston, people began venturing out Sunday to enjoy the kind of crisp winter day that follows a storm. Many Downtown Crossing storefronts remained dark, including the Corner Mall, which was roped off with caution tape warning pedestrians of falling snow and ice.
The Back Deck restaurant on West Street was busy. After being closed Friday and Saturday, the restaurant opened again at 11 a.m., and nearly every table was full by midafternoon.
“You could tell people wanted to get out,” said general manager Mark Corcoran.
But as they did, they faced unexpected dangers. Hospitals in the city saw a steady stream of patients arriving with storm-related injuries.
A 14-year-old boy and a man in his 20s died of carbon monoxide poisoning in separate incidents less than 2 miles apart in Roxbury and Mattapan on Saturday. Sunday afternoon, Boston EMS reported taking another man to the hospital after neighbors found him unconscious in his car.
Neighbors noticed the man was unresponsive and called for help. The car had run out of gas when firefighters arrived and broke the windows to get inside, MacDonald said. He was conscious when he was transported to the hospital.
Ten patients had arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning as of Sunday evening, said Dr. Paul Biddinger, medical director of the emergency department.
He urged people to be careful to clear exhaust pipes and not to use grills or generators inside their homes. MacDonald, of the Fire Department, said firefighters are working to clear snow from hydrants throughout the city. Patrick E. Germain, 60, a longtime Worcester firefighter, died Saturday after suffering a heart attack while clearing snow at his Webster home.
During the height of the storm, at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, firefighters in Kingston rushed to a Pembroke Street home, where a woman was in labor.
The home was just a mile and a half away, but it took firefighters almost a half hour to reach it because massive pine trees had fallen and blocked the way, said Kingston Fire Captain Dave Binari.
The firefighters recruited a highway snowplow to clear trees and a path to the house, Binari said. The woman’s labor was too far along when the firefighters arrived, so they helped her deliver at the home.
The mother and baby girl were taken to Jordan Hospital in Plymouth.
Slip-and-fall injuries were a more common cause of hospital visits over the weekend, and some hospital officials said they expected their emergency departments to be busy Monday as more people ventured out onto still-slick sidewalks and roads.
Monday should start off clear, and the region could see some sleet or light snow before the rain begins. About a half inch of rain is expected through the evening commute.
Officials with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency advised residents Sunday to be mindful of snow buildup and drifts on their roofs, and to safely remove them. Snow absorbs the rain and becomes heavy.
With the rain comes melting. High temperatures are expected to be above freezing through the week.
Correction: Because of a photographer’s error, an earlier photo caption for this story incorrectly identified a man standing on a car as he cleared it of snow. He is Greg Polsen of South Boston.