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    Storm was hit and miss

    An 18-inch snowfall helped Tanner Paul, 10, build a fort in the snow in Hanover Wednesday.
    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    An 18-inch snowfall helped Tanner Paul, 10, build a fort in the snow in Hanover Wednesday.

    HANOVER — Parts of the South Shore were walloped by a storm that rolled into Massachusetts Tuesday night and hung around until Wednesday afternoon, with about a foot and a half of snow blanketing several towns, while the city of Boston received significantly less.

    Norwell, which had 18.3 inches overnight, had the highest recorded snowfall in the state, closely followed by Hanover with 18 inches, and Duxbury and Weymouth with 17 inches each, the Weather Service said.

    Tallies for much of the rest of the Commonwealth, including Boston, hovered in the single digits, according to figures from the National Weather Service in Taunton.


    William Babcock, a Weather Service meteorologist, explained the snowfall patterns in a phone interview Wednesday evening, after the final soft flakes had dropped on a state where dozens of school districts had closed and many public buildings were shuttered for the day.

    John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
    Michael Butts shoveled the sidewalk in front of his business on Court Street in Plymouth Wednesday as icicles framed him.
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    “The center of the storm was actually well out offshore, well off of Nantucket,” Babcock said, making it “a bit further south than the ideal track for the storm covering all of southern New England.”

    Babcock said winds off the south coast lingered over the water before moving onto land, allowing for the moisture necessary for a larger burst of snow there.

    On Wednesday afternoon in the center of Hanover, snowdrifts were piled on sidewalks but the roads were generally clear, with traffic moving at a normal, pre-rush-hour clip.

    Michelle Locke, 49, was shoveling part of her large driveway on Main Street as two of her seven horses stood near the barn.


    Locke said the weather forced her to regularly defrost the horses’ water buckets. In addition, feeding them became difficult as the snow piled up. Locke said the person who plows her driveway had not yet arrived when she trekked over to the barn for the 6 a.m. feeding.

    David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
    Russ Haskell was covered in snow after using his snowblower to clear the driveway at his Norwell home.

    “It was not pretty,” Locke said. “I was at least up to my knees. . . . I can see why people move south, but what are you going to do? I’m not going to be a wimp.”

    Other communities that hit double digits in snowfall included Bourne, Falmouth, Fall River, New Bedford, Stoughton, Cohasset, Randolph, Foxborough, Holbrook, Plymouth, Brockton, Bridgewater, Kingston, Middleborough, Hanson, and Halifax.

    But at Logan International Airport in Boston, only 4.2 inches of snow was recorded.

    At the height of the storm, there were 550 pieces of snow-fighting equipment on Boston streets, and the city used a quarter of its road salt supply. By 7 a.m. Wednesday, the number of plows and salt spreaders operating had dropped to 300, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said.


    The state Department of Transportation had reported Tuesday night that more than 2,000 crews were busy clearing state roads for the morning commute.

    There were no major incidents or crimes overnight in Boston, Walsh added. Boston Emergency Medical Services responded to one call for hypothermia. There were reports of five fires and seven or eight carbon monoxide scares.

    Municipal leaders in Boston and north and west of the city also ended snow emergencies Wednesday morning, and the Massachusetts Turnpike resumed normal speed limits after several hours when speed was reduced to 40 miles per hour.

    The MBTA reported problems linked, not to the snowfall, but to single-digit temperatures in the region. Among the issues, said state Transportation Secretary Richard Davey, was that only three of the 10 trolley cars used on the Ashmont-Mattapan trolley line functioned Wednesday morning, forcing the use of buses.

    “The arctic conditions make it difficult to keep every bus, subway, and train operating on its regular schedule,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said Wednesday. He urged commuters to check the MBTA’s website for service updates.

    Logan Airport was open Wednesday, but the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs the airport, reported a number of delays and cancellations on its website.

    Across the state, the snow was followed by frigid temperatures.

    Highs across much of the state will remain in the teens or between 10 and 12 degrees on Thursday, with the exception of the Cape, where some areas will spike into the 20s, according to Weather Service figures.

    However, temperatures are expected to plummet to below zero by Thursday night in parts of Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Middlesex, and Worcester counties. Boston will dip to around 5 degrees.

    In Plymouth on Wednesday afternoon, most Main Street businesses had opened their doors despite the nearly 16 inches of snow that had battered the town.

    “It’s better than the last storm,” said Kevin Radke, a manager at T-Bones Road House who was shoveling the sidewalk without a coat, hat, or gloves.

    The snow is “lighter, and the wind takes care of it,” Radke said.

    Jenna Russell of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Andrew Ryan can be reached at John R. Ellement can be reached at