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Wet, heavy snow cuts power to tens of thousands across Massachusetts

A tree service truck drives in Shelburne, Massachusetts, on Tuesday morning. More than 78% of homes and businesses in the town were without power as of 10 a.m.
Carrie Healy
A tree service truck drives in Shelburne, Massachusetts, on Tuesday morning. About 76% of homes and businesses in the town were without power as of 3 p.m.

The start of a winter storm with heavy, wet snow led to hundreds of school closings, canceled flights and thousands of power outages in parts of the Northeast Monday night into Tuesday.

The storm's path included parts of New England, upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. Snow totals by the time it winds up Wednesday were expected to range from a few inches to a few feet, depending on the area.

“This is shaping up to be a unique winter storm for our small state in that there will be big differences in snowfall amounts depending on where you are located,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who ordered all executive branch state office buildings closed. “Some towns may receive a significant snowfall total, while others may receive a fraction of that amount or maybe even just rain.”

Likewise, in Massachusetts, Gov. Maura Healey told non-essential employees of the executive branch to stay home, and telework if possible.

More than 400 flights traveling to, from or within the U.S. were canceled Tuesday, with Boston and New York City area airports seeing the highest number of scrubbed flights, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

The snowfall totals will be among the highest of the season, said meteorologist Andrew Orrison of the weather service office in College Park, Maryland.

“It has been below average for snowfall across the Northeast this year, and so this nor'easter will be very impactful," he said.

Rain was turning into snow across parts of New England and winds were picking up. Tens of thousands of customers lost power across New England. In Massachusetts alone, utilities reported more than 75,000 outages as of 3 p.m. Tuesday — about 33,000 of those in the four western counties.

Towns in the Berkshires and foothills were hit especially hard, with all or nearly all customers without power in Monroe, Leyden, New Ashford, Charlemont, Ashfield and Mount Washington.

In New Hampshire, it was Election Day for town officeholders, but more than 70 communities postponed voting because of the storm.

“We know that the driving conditions are going to be treacherous," Patrick Moody of AAA New England said.

The weather service said expected snow totals from the storm, which is forecast to wind up Wednesday, range from a foot to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters) in higher elevations in Massachusetts, to 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in Boston. Higher elevations in southwest New Hampshire could get up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow, and Augusta, Maine, could see 8 inches to a foot (20 to 30 centimeters).

This report includes information from The Associated Press.

Updated: March 14, 2023 at 3:11 PM EDT
This story has been updated to reflect revised power outage and forecast information.
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