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Thousands without power, roads treacherous after winter storm lashes New England

Pedestrians battled the snow in Copley Square.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Snow hit Massachusetts in waves Monday as a powerful weather system crossed the region, knocking down trees and power lines, leaving thousands of residents in the dark, and causing slushy roadways that snarled traffic during the evening commute.

The storm spanned from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to large swaths of New Hampshire and Maine, where dangerous road conditions led to dozens of crashes, according to officials.

Some respite is in store for Tuesday, as forecasters predicted dry conditions with spots of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-30s, but Wednesday night is expected to bring a new round of rain and snow.

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“Tuesday is going to be our break before the storm on Wednesday,” said Kyle Pederson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton.

In Eastern Massachusetts, rain showers on Monday afternoon turned to heavy, wet snow that fell at a rate of an inch per hour in some communities, from the northern areas of Middlesex and Essex counties down into Bristol County and northern Rhode Island.

Harvard student Erick Medeiros made a snow angel in newly fallen snow in Harvard yard Cambridge as his friends looked on. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The snow tapered off Monday evening, but temperatures were expected to drop below freezing under clearing skies overnight, which could lead to slick road conditions Tuesday morning, Pederson said.

A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said the agency had more than 1,700 pieces of equipment deployed Monday evening and expected work to continue overnight as pavement temperatures across the state were at or below freezing.

“Due to the forecast, MassDOT expects crews to continue patrolling, chemically treating roads and/or plowing into the morning Tuesday depending on the region,” the spokesperson said in an e-mail.

Communities in Western and Central Massachusetts reported the highest snowfall totals Monday afternoon, with Williamstown leading the state with 10.5 inches as of 9 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, Etna, Maine, saw the highest snowfall total across the Northeast with 17.2 inches, followed by Sunapee, N.H., with 17 inches, and Townshend, Vt., at 14.5 inches, according to the weather service. The highest total in Rhode Island was the 3.9 inches that fell in Cumberland.

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Boston had 2.1 inches of snow by about 7:15 p.m., while Worcester had about 4 inches reported at 5 p.m., according to the weather service.

Thousands of customers across New England lost power, including more than 22,000 customers in Massachusetts, primarily in Berkshire, Middlesex, Worcester, and Franklin counties,, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. That number had fallen to about 20,000 by 10:55 p.m., according to MEMA.

Cape Cod and the South Shore were under a coastal flood advisory Monday, and storm-fueled tides forced the temporary closure of Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester and caused flooding near Long Wharf in downtown Boston and in Plymouth and Salisbury, officials said.

The Boston Public Works Department had deployed 460 pieces of equipment Monday afternoon to treat and clear city streets, the department said.

In New Hampshire, nearly 76,000 utility customers were without power about 10:55 p.m., according to outage reports. More than 66,000 Eversource customers were among those without power, according to the company, which sent additional work crews from Massachusetts and Connecticut to help restore power in New Hampshire.

In Maine, state offices were closed and turbulent weather had knocked out power to more than 34,000 Central Maine Power Company customers as of about 10:45 p.m.,, according to the company’s outage map.

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State Police in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine responded to dozens of crashes as cars slid and spun off slick roads and highways, including one on Interstate 95 in West Warwick, R.I., that resulted in the death of the driver, identified as 25-year-old Beatrice J. Batista of Central Falls, R.I.

The accidents also included a fully-loaded car carrier that crashed off the side of Interstate 89 in Warner, N.H., sending one car rolling off the truck, officials said. The driver, Alex Ferguson, 62, of Stamford, Conn., was taken to Concord Hospital with minor injuries, New Hampshire State Police said.

A rollover crash on Interstate 93 in Windham, N.H., sent two adults and two children to the hospital with minor injuries, officials said. Bystanders helped them get out of the vehicle as it was on its side in the snow-covered median, according to the Windham Fire Department. The children had been riding in car seats, the department said.

The weather also forced multiple cancellations on Amtrak’s Downeaster line, which runs between North Station in Boston and Brunswick, Maine, due to downed trees on the tracks, the company said.

At Logan International Airport, 383 flights were delayed and 121 had been canceled as of about 11 p.m., according to FlightAware.

The speed limit on the Massachusetts Turnpike between Palmer and the New York border was lowered to 40 miles an hour, according to the state Transportation Department, which on Monday afternoon said it had about 1,107 pieces of snow-fighting equipment deployed statewide.

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Meanwhile, State Police shut down Route 20 between Pittsfield and the New York border for several hours as crews attended to downed power lines and trees.

Globe correspondent Claire Law contributed to this report.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico. John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.