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The Boston Globe


Winter storm lashes out at evening commute

Vienna Conyngham, 9, checked out Christmas trees at a lot in the South End during Tuesday’s snowstorm,

Wendy Maeda/globe staff

Vienna Conyngham, 9, checked out Christmas trees at a lot in the South End during Tuesday’s snowstorm,

A preholiday snowstorm hit the Boston metropolitan area during Tuesday evening’s rush-hour commute, paralyzing traffic and causing an avalanche of cancellations, authorities said.

Some schools across the state dismissed students early and canceled activities, and Acting Governor William F. Galvin sent state workers home early, as the storm swept into Boston just before noon. The snowfall intensified during the evening commute, and dropped upwards of 8 inches in parts of the state.

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The Department of Transportation mobilized about 2,700 pieces of equipment statewide to plow highways and dispense salt and liquid de-icers, a spokesman said.

“The timing of the storm has made things a little bit more of a challenge in clearing roads,” said MassDOT spokesman Michael Verseckes. “Whereas the last storm came on the weekend, we did not see the high volumes on the highway that we would on a weekday, in particular the late afternoon or early evening when everyone's trying to make their way home.”

Trooper Reid Bagley of the State Police said many accidents and spinouts were reported across Massachusetts, and traffic was slow going, especially in Greater Boston.

Route 2 westbound in Lexington was closed at about 8:45 p.m. because of multiple stuck vehicles, State Police said.

The city of Boston dispatched close to 400 pieces of equipment to combat the weather, and city officials and police monitored conditions from the city’s traffic center and the Boston police unified command center, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.

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“We started pretreating roads at 10 o’clock this morning, and we will continue working the roads through this evening to provide for a smooth commute tomorrow morning,” said Dot Joyce.

The Boston public schools were dismissed at their normal times but canceled after-school programs, Joyce said.

Massport reported delays and cancellations at Logan Airport. The MBTA reported weather-related delays on bus routes, commuter rail lines, and branches of the Green Line, spokeswoman Kelly Smith said.

A commuter rail train derailed in Fitchburg and another hit a car in Cohasset, authorities said. Both incidents were considered weather-related and did not result in injuries.

At about 7:30 p.m., the National Weather Service in Taunton said 5.5 inches of snow had fallen in West Roxbury. At 10 p.m., the highest snowfall reported by the weather service was 8.1 inches in Framingham. No updated totals for Boston were available at that time.

Globe correspondents Jasper Craven and Melissa Hanson and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Nicholas Jacques can be reached at nicholas.jacques@

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