Massachusetts pounded by wicked nor'easter; solar eclipse forecast looks 'really favorable'

Rick Sobey, Boston Herald on

Published in Weather News

Hopefully a lot of April showers bring a lot of May flowers.

A nasty early spring nor’easter pounded the region with snow, sleet, rain, wicked strong winds and coastal flooding on Thursday.

The storm sparked tens of thousands of power outages across Massachusetts, and vehicles were spinning out on the roads as police responded to numerous crashes.

“This was a pretty powerful storm for early spring,” Andrew Loconto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Boston office, told the Boston Herald.

“Nothing we haven’t seen before, but no doubt a strong area of low pressure with very strong winds and coastal flooding,” he added.

The snow jackpot for the Bay State was in western Massachusetts, where 8.2 inches of snow was recorded in Hawley out in the Berkshires. More than 6 inches fell in Ashburnham in northern Worcester County, and more than 4 inches was measured in Townsend in northern Middlesex County.

Trees and power lines were knocked down amid the snow and strong wind gusts — which topped 70 mph along Cape Cod. Wind gusts on Revere Beach hit 62 mph, and Boston Logan International Airport recorded a 59 mph gust.

More than 30,000 Bay State households were in the dark at the peak of the storm Thursday morning, as utility companies raced to get the lights back on. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reported 9,690 power outages as of 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Up in New Hampshire, where more than a foot of snow fell, more than 100,000 households were without power in the morning.

In addition to the outages, police were responding to crashes across the region. In Danvers, a 34-year-old Peabody man driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV went off the road on Route 1 north. The SUV grazed a telephone pole and then crashed squarely into a large tree. The man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

On I-93 in New Hampshire, Brian Houle, 63, a Massachusetts semi-truck driver who crashed into another tractor trailer, was cited for driving too fast for conditions during the snowstorm. There were no reported injuries in the crash.


Flooding was reported in Boston and along the coast, as big waves blasted the shoreline. A nearly 4-foot surge was reported in Boston, as total water levels topped out at 13.3 feet.

Following Thursday’s storm, it’s expected to be quite raw and dreary Friday and Saturday.

“By early April standards, we have a pretty chilly couple days coming up here,” Loconto said, noting temps will be in the low 40s with some breezy conditions and rain showers at times.

Conditions should finally dry out on Sunday, with temps ticking up a bit near 50 degrees.

Then the solar eclipse will be visible across the area on Monday, beginning shortly after 2 p.m. and lasting until about 4:30 p.m.

The weather forecast is looking promising for the eclipse, according to the National Weather Service’s Boston office.

“The viewing conditions look really favorable,” Loconto said. “It should be a mostly clear day, which is favorable for eclipse viewing in the local area.

“Temperatures also look good, in the upper 50s to around 60 degrees in the Boston area,” he added.

Officials are reminding residents to not look directly at the eclipse without proper eye protection. Regular sunglasses are not safe during an eclipse because they do not block ultraviolet and infrared rays, which can damage your eyes.


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