Winter’s first major snowstorm buried parts of the state on Friday, with totals surprising residents south and west of Boston with more than a foot of snow, while Cape Cod and Western Massachusetts received only a few inches.
By the time the storm wound down in the afternoon, Boston had recorded 11.2 inches of snow, according to measures taken at Logan Airport, the National Weather Service said.
Elsewhere, 15.2 inches of snow was recorded at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, 14.4 inches in Westwood, and 13.5 inches in Norwood, the service said.
“Southwest of the city was the jackpot,” said Kristie Smith, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Norton office.
The storm brought limited power outages and a snow day for public school districts already struggling to keep schools open amid the COVID-19 surge.
Michael Gow, a middle school social studies teacher in Medfield, called Friday a “snowvid day” and acknowledged it gave parents and teachers a reprieve from the daily dilemma of whether to continue with in-person instruction as the pandemic rages.
“This is a well deserved break for all of the teachers, staff, and students dealing with the surge of omicron,” Gow tweeted.
Traffic snarled and multiple crashes were reported on state and local roads, including a fatality in the southcoast community of Freetown.
Jason Saccocia, 45, of New Bedford, was pronounced dead at the scene after he veered off Route 140 northbound shortly before 7:30 a.m., State Police said Friday evening.
An MBTA bus spun out on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton and struck a median barrier, but there were no injuries and the bus was quickly towed away, officials said.
The snow was heaviest in a band stretching from central Connecticut to Cape Ann, while points east and west saw about a foot or less, according to the National Weather Service.
At times, the snow that started early Friday fell fast and furious, with large amounts quickly piling up. Weymouth had 13 inches and Randolph recorded 12.2 inches, while a foot fell in Medfield, Northbridge and Douglas, according to the weather service.
Communities recording just shy of a foot were Dedham, 11.8 inches; Franklin, 11.5 inches; Milford, 11 inches; Grafton, 10.3 inches, the service said.
“We had some really large snowflakes falling at pretty good rates, say about 1 or 2 inches an hour, for about four hours,” Smith said.
State Police tweeted that troopers “throughout the state have been responding to numerous minor crashes, spin-outs, and roll-overs.”
Sadly, Freetown crash is a fatality. Troopers remain on scene conducting investigation. Vehicle went off road. No lanes closed. https://t.co/mUOGqyXMb7— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) January 7, 2022
In Longmeadow, a car and an SUV were involved in a head-on crash at a snow-covered intersection, causing one vehicle to catch fire, police said via Facebook shortly after noon. It wasn’t clear if anyone was hurt.
In Boston, Mayor Michelle Wu did not declare a city snow emergency but urged the public via Twitter to stay “safe, stay warm & stay inside if you can.”
During a live appearance Friday afternoon on the Facebook show “Java with Jimmy,” Wu expressed gratitude to city workers working hard to keep the streets clear and safe and praised Boston’s response to the weather.
More than 700 snow plows were going out on the roads, she said, and countless city employees were up at all hours to prepare for and address the storm.
“Thank you so much to everyone who’s made my first snowstorm go pretty smoothly so far,” Wu said, appearing on the livestream from a car.
A Boston police cruiser was rear-ended near 875 Morton St. at approximately 8:10 a.m., according to Officer Andre Watson, a police spokesman. An officer was taken to an area hospital to be evaluated for non-life threatening injuries, he said, adding that the cruiser had been parked at a red light and was struck by a vehicle that couldn’t stop due to the snow.
Logan International Airport was open and operating, according to Massport. However, by 11 p.m. airlines had canceled 366 flights at Logan and delayed 335, per FlightAware.com, a leading flight tracker website.
State courthouses were also closed Friday, and MassDOT said speed limits were slashed on certain highways, with Interstate 93′s carpool lane sealed off amid the snowfall.
MassDOT deployed 2,497 pieces of equipment for snow and ice operations on roadways, the agency said on Twitter. By evening, that number had dropped to 291, MassDOT said, cautioning drivers that pavement temperatures had dropped below freezing statewide.
The speed limit on the Massachusetts Turnpike was reduced to 40 miles per hour from the New York border to the Interstate 495 connection in Westborough, and the HOV lane was closed on Interstate 93 for the morning and evening commutes, MassDOT said.
While the weather affected travel, power outages appeared to be kept at bay. State emergency management officials reported at 1:17 p.m. that 2,034 customers statewide were without power, mostly in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state — and a far cry from the hundreds of thousands who’ve lost power during prior storms.
By 11:02 p.m., the tally had dipped to 868 customers statewide. Most of those outages were in the Central Massachusetts town of Wales , where there were 697 customers without power.
[9:20 am] latest observed #snow totals:— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) January 7, 2022
CT - Danielson 12.8"
RI - Burrillville 13.0"
MA - Sharon 11.5"#MAwx #RIwx #CTwx #winter pic.twitter.com/fBkSR8MtUB
Custodians across the city got up early and braved the snowy roads. We laced up our boots tight and got to work clearing snow and making safe passages. We won’t stop until the job is done. #nodaysoff @BostonSchools @MayorWu @GoIUPAT We take pride in our work! pic.twitter.com/qyHD4AAsBS— Boston Public School Custodians (@BPSCustodians) January 7, 2022
Our @BostonSchools custodians are getting it done again! This is the same team that rallied for our kids with donated Christmas presents. We love our custodians. Such big hearts and here on a snow day!!! #BPSProudShoutOut https://t.co/BrXFwVGDea— Brenda Cassellius (@BCassellius) January 7, 2022
In the city’s Fenway neighborhood, a Northeastern University student from China who identified himself as Dylan could not have been happier as he brushed the snow off his car while his girlfriend watched.
”We love the snow,” Dylan said. “Before, in China, we cannot see the snow for over several years, so that’s actually why we selected a university in Boston because we wanted to see the snow. I’m so enjoying this.”
The snow tapered off Friday afternoon and was expected to be followed by temperatures in the 20s overnight into Saturday morning, the weather service said. Highs on Saturday for most of the region will be in the 20s, with some areas hitting the low 30s. A wave of arctic cold is forecast for early next week.
Trash pickup could be affected for Bostonians in the aftermath of the storm. The Public Works Department said on Twitter that trash and recycling pickup were running on a regular schedule but that some neighborhoods were experiencing delays because of the storm.
*A reminder to residents that trash and #recycling ♻️♻️♻️ curbside pick-up is running on a regular schedule in the @CityOfBoston. Due to the earlier #snowstorm, some neighborhoods are experiencing delays. We appreciate your patience. pic.twitter.com/yFoH3eeavw— Boston Public Works (@BostonPWD) January 7, 2022
Shannon Larson, Emily Sweeney, John R. Ellement and Emma Platoff of the Globe Staff and correspondents Grace Gilson and Rose Pecci contributed to this report. Material from the Associated Press was also used.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.