Metro

Icy dangers loom as arctic cold grips region

Green Line fully restored, but roads are slick

Although the weekend storm proved to be minor, as it moved out to sea Sunday it left still more of the incidents that have plagued this winter-weary region — spinouts, roof collapses, and complications to emergency response efforts.

The steady rain and snow that came in Saturday night created slick highways, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, and State Police reported spinouts on roads because of treacherous driving conditions.

After a single-vehicle crash on Route 128 southbound Sunday morning, officials cautioned drivers to drive slowly. At least three more crashes occurred on state roads during the day.

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Better news came in the public transportation arena, however, as the MBTA announced Sunday morning that service had been fully restored on the Red Line to Braintree and all Green Line branches.

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The snow and sleet cleared out of the state by early afternoon, leaving a relatively warm day, but intense cold is on the horizon.

The final snow accumulations were less that originally forecast, said meteorologist Frank Nocera with the National Weather Service in Taunton.

The honors for the most snow went out of state — to Staffordville, Conn., and Canton, Conn., which reported 8 inches. In Massachusetts, Southwick and Northfield reported 7 inches, with varying levels across the state.

Boston got far less, with Logan International Airport registering 1.2 inches of snow, bringing the city’s seasonal total up to 99.9 inches, according to the weather service. The winter remains the second snowiest on record in Boston.

Daily snowfall in Boston

On March 15, this year's snowfall broke the record-setting total from 1995-1996.
Data through Mar. 23, 2015 at 11 a.m.

DATA: National Weather Service, Boston; NOAA

Globe Staff

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Parts of Southeastern Massachusetts received between a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain, which was “absorbed by the existing snowpack, whether it’s on your roof or on your lawn,” said Kim Buttrick, a weather service meteorologist.

An unidentified man died in Canton on Sunday after falling through a skylight, the town’s second roof-related death in a week.

Two people were assessing snow removal on the roof of a building on Will Drive when the victim stepped on the skylight, which was blanketed by snow, and fell 40 feet. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton, where he later died, police said.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said 138 collapsed buildings or buildings at risk of collapse have been reported since Feb. 9.

Fifteen occurred since Saturday evening, according to MEMA. Among them was a barn in Andover, which had a partial collapse Sunday trapping seven horses for a few hours until they were rescued.

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Another horse, named Limit, was OK after being rescued in Hamilton when it became trapped in a drift and a frozen pond, said Deputy Fire Chief Kirby Brand.

Firefighters worked to free horses after a partial roof collapse at Flying High Stables in Andover.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
Firefighters worked to free horses after a partial roof collapse at Flying High Stables in Andover.

Winter conditions also are exacerbating the challenge of fighting fires.

At a three-alarm fire in Needham Saturday night, firefighters were hampered by frozen hydrants. No one was injured in the blaze, which burned for about two hours and is believed to have started in the attic, according to Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Dooher.

When a two-alarm fire tore through the Norfolk district attorney’s offices in Canton on Sunday, officials said snow or ice had blocked a meter outside, causing gas to leak into the building.

Firefighters had difficulty finding the building’s gas shut-off valve beneath large snowbanks, which delayed their efforts to extinguish the flames, said Canton Fire Captain Ed Freitas.

No employees were in the building at the time of the blaze, but because of structural instability, a new workplace will have to be found for staff.

Holbrook Junior-Senior High School is closed Monday after two windows buckled under the weight of snow Saturday, said Police Lieutenant Donald Austin.

“If you’re sitting in the cafeteria,” with its 12-feet-high windows, “it looks like you’re in a snow cave,” Austin said. The snow will be removed and a broken natural gas line fixed on Monday, and officials hope students can return Tuesday.

Hingham announced via Twitter that the school district would be closed Monday while snow is cleared from roofs.

Temperatures were expected to dip into the upper teens Sunday night in Greater Boston before an arctic front moves in, Buttrick said.

On Monday, highs will be in the low 20s, with a windchill index of zero to 5 degrees. Monday night is expected to be between zero and minus-10 degrees, with a windchill index of minus-15 to minus-20, Buttrick said. A windchill advisory has been issued for much of the state from 6 p.m. Monday until 8 a.m. Tuesday.

A snowstorm projected to hit Wednesday has moved offshore, and the forecast now calls for just a few flurries with less than an inch of accumulation, said Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, another weather service meteorologist.

Thursday through Saturday is expected to be clear and cold.

Globe correspondents Raffaela Kenny-Cincotta and Niko Emack-Bazelais contributed to this report. Kiera Blessing can be reached at kiera.blessing@globe.com. Jennifer Smith can be reached at jennifer.smith@globe.com