Metro

Christmas Day brings snow, power outages across the region

12/25/2017 - Boston, MA - Christmas Day brought an early snowstorm that created whiteout conditions for a time in the Boston area and made a pretty canvas of the Boston Common. Photo by Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
Dina Rudick/Globe Staff
The wintry scene on Boston Common on Christmas Day.

It was a white Christmas for millions across the region, as snow blanketed New England. But it was a blackout Christmas — twinkling lights gone dark — for about 20,000 people in Massachusetts who lost power.

Midday, most of the outages were on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, according to Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. More than half of all customers in Wellfleet were without power, while all 560 customers in Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard couldn’t turn on the lights.

High winds lashed coastal Massachusetts, and the National Weather Service issued a high-wind warning for Cape Cod and the Islands, predicting winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 65 mph.

Advertisement

In Boston on Monday morning, power remained on, but the driving wind and heavy snow made the weather outside frightful — and left downtown almost completely deserted, but for a few men in neon jackets shoveling walkways.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

And Logan International Airport temporarily stopped flights from coming or going Monday morning.

“Due to a quick change in temperature this morning, our crews were not able to keep up with the snow,” MassPort spokeswoman Jennifer Mehigan said. “It is helpful that there is a light schedule today.”

But by 11:30 a.m., Mehigan said Logan had reopened a runway, and flights were beginning to move.

That left passengers hopeful.

Advertisement

Andrea Hines, a 49-year-old heading home to South Carolina, said her flight was still set to leave on time. Hines, who grew up in the Boston area, said, “There’s no airport I would rather fly out of in bad weather than Logan.”

But asked as she sat by the JetBlue check-in counter if a flight delay would be worth it to have seen a Boston white Christmas for the first time in years, she laughed.

“Probably not.”

Some users on Twitter reported long delays sitting on JetBlue flights at Logan. A spokesman for the airline, Brian Mazur, did not directly respond to a question about how long passengers were languishing as they awaited departures from Boston.

However, Mazur did say, “Some flights in and out of Boston Logan are currently experiencing delays. There have been no cancellations so far, and we are working to get customers to their final destinations as soon as possible for the holiday.”

Advertisement

Downtown, by afternoon, the weather had cleared and tourists were reveling in the White Christmas scenery. The storm had dropped about 3 inches on the city.

Manchester, N.H., residents Danica Gernale and her husband were visiting Boston for the first time — staying in a hotel and making a vacation of it.

She laughed posing for a photo in front of the Samuel Adams statue by Faneuil Hall and said they were delighted the rain had changed to snow.

“We like it a lot,” she said walking through the snow under sunny, blue skies.

And forecasters said the bad weather — which dumped as much as 7 inches of snow on some parts of the metro area — has moved on from Greater Boston for good.

“We’re done!” said National Weather Service meteorologist Eleanor Vallier-Talbot.

Still, officials warned motorists to take it easy on road because of ice. The speed limit on the Massachusetts Turnpike was reduced to 40 miles per hour because of weather, according to State Police.

And Vallier-Talbot cautioned that chilly temperatures are here to stay at least until New Year’s Day: “Long range, it looks like it’s going to be really cold.”

Which made it doubly good news that power was back on for many, with only 8,300 customers across Massachusetts in the dark around 5 p.m.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos