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In 2015, Boston was blanketed in snow — and that was only the beginning of a historic run of snowstorms

Amy Grace, 10, had a mountain of snow to play on on Tremont Street in the South End after the mammoth storm.Suzanne Kreiter

Five years ago today, Boston was frozen in place.

On Jan. 27, 2015, Bostonians woke up to a winter wonderland. A massive snowstorm, which some people dubbed a “Snowpocalypse” or a “Snowmaggedon,” was blanketing the city with 24.4 inches of snow. Over 30 inches was falling in other parts of the state.

Although it was a Tuesday, the streets were quiet, schools were closed, and work was canceled. Kids hit the slopes at the Boston Common, sledding through the light, fluffy snow. Friends gathered at bars, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to relax during the workweek. A person dressed in a Yeti costume stalked the streets, neglecting warnings from city officials to remain inside.


“We are anticipating an historic top five snowstorm,” Governor Charlie Baker said at a news conference the day before the storm. His prediction was close; the storm turned out to be the sixth worst in Boston history.

A stop sign was barely visible at the corner of Pembroke and Tremont streets in Boston's South End after the storm.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

The storm, which came after winter had gotten off to a fairly uneventful start, turned out to be the vanguard of the snowiest winter ever recorded in Boston. The season became a miserable marathon of back-breaking shoveling, frustrating commutes, leaking roofs, and hazardous driving.

In February, another storm brought 23.8 inches of snow from Feb. 7 to Feb. 10. Yet another storm contributed over a foot of snow from Feb. 14 to Feb. 15. The Feb. 7-10 storm also made into the top 10 snowstorm list, weighing in at the 7th spot.

Overall, Boston saw a total of 110.6 inches covering the city that winter, according to The Weather Channel. The previous record for the snowiest winter, 107.6 inches, was set in the 1996 to 1997 season.

Could it happen again? There haven’t been any notable snowstorms in New England this year, but there’s no telling whether another nor’easter — or series of them — will surprise Bostonians sometime soon.


“There’s certainly a possibility that these storms could occur every five to 10 years, but there’s no guarantee,” said Bill Simpson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service of Boston. “It’s not clockwork.”

For those planning to trek into or out of Boston five years ago, getting anywhere proved futile after the city enacted an emergency travel ban. The storm was so disruptive that the MBTA was crippled for days, something that hasn’t happened since.

“Since the winter of 2015, the MBTA has upgraded track and signal infrastructure, invested in snow-fighting equipment, and stocked up on replacement parts for vehicles,” said Joe Pesaturo, MBTA spokesman. Altogether, the MBTA spent $101 million on “winter resiliency” after the storm, he said.

A pedestrian made his lonely way up Seaport Boulevard during the storm.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

In a rare development, Logan International Airport ceased all operations.

Other parts of Eastern and Central Massachusetts were also hit hard in the Jan. 26-27 storm. Plymouth received 24 inches of snow, while an unprecedented 34.5 inches fell on Worcester. However, according to the National Weather Service, Springfield received less than eight inches and the Berkshires saw barely any snow at all.

Matt Berg can be reached at matthew.berg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.