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Thousands remain without power on Cape

Snow in forecast, but not much

Willie A. Nealy III cleaned his car windows on Harvard Street in Boston, where only 4 inches of snow fell.

PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

Willie A. Nealy III cleaned his car windows on Harvard Street in Boston, where only 4 inches of snow fell.

Thousands were left without power by a storm that swept the coast of Massachusetts, sprinkling Boston with only 4 inches of snow but dumping more than a foot south of the city.

Crews worked through Sunday to get power systems back on track, especially on Cape Cod, the region hit hardest by the Saturday storm. Power was restored to more than 32,000 customers on Sunday, and about 2,800 remained in the dark Sunday evening.

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Those left waiting were mostly scattered throughout the Cape, with the largest concentration in Dennis, where 500 people were still waiting for their service to be restored about 6 p.m.

“This storm, of all the storms we’ve had this winter, has caused the most damage in terms of tree-related power outages,” said Mike Durand, a spokesman for NStar.

Only a handful of National Grid customers lost power Saturday night, and all were restored by Sunday, said National Grid spokeswoman Debbie Drew.

“Based on our service area and the track of the storm, while we prepared for the worst, we certainly made out the best,” Drew said.

Saturday’s storm appeared to create more annoyance than destruction, as Boston and some towns reported few snow-related incidents.

Sandwich, which saw more than 15 inches of wet, compact snow, had a few minor accidents and brief power outages, police and fire officials said. In Yarmouth, the storm’s wrath had the biggest effect on the town’s electricity infrastructure, said police Sergeant Walter Warren.

“The only damage we had was a lot of transformers and downed lines and downed trees and that’s about it,” Warren said.

And there really were not any storm-related issues in Boston, according to Kate Norton, a city spokeswoman.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sara Lavoie said the agency’s snow removal efforts were aided by the fact that roads were largely clear of vehicles. Drivers, it seems, heeded Governor Deval Patrick’s pleas to avoid unnecessary travel on roads east of Marlborough.

MassDOT has long since spent more than the $43 million allocated in its budget for snow removal, and officials are still waiting for the state Legislature to grant supplemental funds that would increase the budget for this year’s winter cleanup to $93 million.

But at a MassDOT board of directors meeting last week, Frank DePaola, highway administrator, said he expected the costs to surpass even that amount. The jammed-up snow removal budget has rankled snow removal contractors, who typically receive their last payments for snow contract work in the summer.

“For a small business person doing what these folks have to do, it’s just not fair,” said John R. Jenkins, chairman of the MassDOT board of directors, at the meeting last week.

Logan International Airport remained open throughout the storm, and extensive plowing efforts early Sunday kept the runways clear.

Still, 13 percent of flights were canceled Saturday night because of the storm, said Miraj A. Berry, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Port Authority. “This meant that they did not begin with a full complement this morning, so they are working to accommodate those passengers,” Berry said Sunday.

Accommodating passengers from canceled flights has been difficult, Berry said, because school vacation week means that most flights are already fully booked.

But people at the check-in area Sunday were pleasantly surprised with the lack of delays and cancellations. Many were expecting the snow to wreak havoc on travel plans, but when they arrived it was business as usual.

Deborah Caruthers had been dodging storms the past few weeks, but was happy that her Cape Air flight to Martha’s Vineyard was on time.

There were two small snowstorms before she left for Saint Kitts several weeks ago, and she flew back on Saturday to find another.

“I was going to fly into Miami, but all of the flights from there to Boston were canceled. I went to Chicago instead,” Caruthers said. “I like the snow. I do. But I want to be inside drinking hot chocolate, not flying in it.”

And more snow is on the way. Another storm will blow in from the south on Tuesday, said Charlie Foley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton. “But it won’t be the magnitude of what we had Saturday night,” he said.

The snow is expected to begin falling late Tuesday morning or early afternoon. The worst-case scenario is 1 to 3 inches in Boston, Foley said.

Temperatures Wednesday through Friday are expected to rise significantly, with Friday’s high potentially reaching the 50s.

Joshua Miller of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report. Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at Haven.egresitz@globe.com. Martine Powers can be reached at martine.powers@globe.com.
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