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Thousands are without power as Mass. cleans up from nor’easter

Electric utility trucks from New York worked on power lines on Main Street in Orleans, where many people were without power. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Thousands of homes and businesses remained without power in Massachusetts Wednesday night after Tuesday’s nor’easter, which lashed the state with high winds as it dumped a thick blanket of snow.

While weary residents dug out and power restoration efforts were underway, the National Weather Service was keeping an eye on another potential coastal storm that would arrive in about a week, though it said there was a high level of uncertainty about its track and a “wide range in outcomes remain possible.”

The storm brought powerful wind gusts — an 81-mile-per-hour gust was recorded in East Falmouth — and heavy, wet snow to the Cape and to Bristol and Plymouth counties, knocking down trees and power lines.


According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, there were still more than 51,000 utility customers in the state without power shortly after 9:45 p.m.

Overnight snow squalls in Greater Boston could leave up to an inch of snow in the region, with temperatures bottoming out around 30 degrees, said Bill Simpson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Thursday morning will offer a reprieve from the precipitation, according to Simpson. By that time, the snow squalls will have subsided, giving way to a morning mix of sun and clouds that will continue into the afternoon. The Thursday morning and afternoon commutes are expected to be free of precipitation, said Simpson. Thursday’s high temperatures will hover around 41 degrees, he said.

Barnstable County, which encompasses wind-swept Cape Cod, and Southeastern Massachusetts were the hardest-hit areas in terms of power outages from Tuesday’s storm. Eversource warned customers that it might take several days to fully restore power.

“Given the damage we’re facing, we’re advising customers that this will be a multiple-day restoration,” Mike Durand, an Eversource spokesman, wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.

State offices reopened Wednesday, and most state courts opened at 10 a.m., although the court complex in Plymouth was closed because of a power outage, officials said.


Boston’s public schools were closed for a second day, while schools across the region announced closures and delays.

The city’s snow emergency and parking ban was lifted at 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, meaning that residents had until 7 p.m. to move their cars from any discounted garages before they have to pay regular rates. Once the ban is lifted, residents of Boston have 48 hours to use space savers — except for the South End, where the practice has been banned.

Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, trash collectors who find space savers on the street will take the items and throw them away.

The MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services, which ran reduced schedules Tuesday, resumed full-scale operations Wednesday.

Tuesday’s powerful storm set several March snow records in Southern New England, knocking off ones set by a 1993 blizzard that marked its 25-year anniversary Tuesday. In Boston, 14.5 inches of snow fell, setting a record both for most snowfall recorded on March 13 and most snowfall recorded over a one-day period in March.

Worcester set the same two records Tuesday with 21.8 inches of snow.

So far, Boston has had 56.8 inches of snow this season, ranking 30th for most snowfall since record keeping began. Worcester would rank 18th, with 86.6 inches of snow this season.

During Tuesday’s storm, Boston, Marshfield, Martha’s Vineyard, Plymouth, and Hyannis all officially recorded blizzard conditions, according to the weather service. Hyannis was in a blizzard state for 10 hours and 35 minutes; Marshfield, nine hours; Falmouth, eight hours and 40 minutes; Martha’s Vineyard, eight hours and 22 minutes; and Boston, six hours.


Plymouth endured a blizzard for least two hours and 53 minutes, but a power outage then knocked instruments offline, the weather service said.

Forecasters expect above freezing — but below normal — temperatures will continue into the weekend and that no major precipitation is expected.

“Expect mainly dry and cooler than normal weather into the weekend and early next week,” weather service forecasters wrote in an Internet post.

Then they sounded an ominous note for wary residents who are tired after a string of storms: “Another coastal storm may impact the region sometime [next] Tuesday into Wednesday.”

Martin Finucane and Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed. Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.