Over a foot of snow dumped in parts of New England

A woman makes her way across the bus station in downtown New Bedford, Mass., as heavy snow falls Friday, March 8, 2013. The storm dropped up to a foot of snow in some parts of New England, caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts.
AP Photo/The Standard-Times, Peter Pereira

Last Updated 1:39 p.m. ET

BOSTON A slow-moving storm centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of New England, caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts and turned the morning commute in the region into a slushy crawl.

Flooding from the enduring storm, which buried parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic in deep snow this week before sweeping northward, closed some coastal roads north and south of Boston.

The storm ripped a home on Plum Island off its foundation and left it partially collapsed into the ocean Friday morning, after the third high tide during the storm pounded the shoreline. No one was in the house at the time.

The snow made for a slippery commute Friday down to New York and Pennsylvania. Snow and accidents made the morning commute in Connecticut difficult for a second day, thousands of homes and businesses lacked power, and schools across New England remained closed.

Snowfall of 8 to 12 inches was forecast in central Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island by Friday morning, with 6 to 10 inches in Boston and nearby areas.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham says it will be a "conveyor belt of wave after wave of snow" coming in.

But powerful ocean waves and high winds were expected to cause more trouble than snow from Rhode Island to Maine. A coastal flood warning was in effect for east-facing shores in Massachusetts, with possible 3-foot surges at high tide.

The late-winter storm that buried parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic swept into New England on Thursday. At least eight deaths - in Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Virginia -- have been blamed on the weather.

As of Friday morning, about 75,000 customers in Virginia and West Virginia were without electricity from downed power lines.

A house on the Plum Island seacoast in Newbury, Mass., sits partially collapsed in the churning surf, Friday, March 8, 2013.
AP/Newburyport Daily News, Mac Cerullo

The current forecast is for moderate to major coastal flooding, rivaling that of the blizzard about a month ago. Wave heights will be an astounding 25 to 30 feet just offshore. Beach erosion will be massive.

Meteorologist Terry Eliasen, executive weather producer of CBS Boston station WBZ-TV, said the main problem is "the persistent, strong east wind just will not relent, so the water which rushes in for high tide will not ever be able to fully escape back out to sea.

"Each successive high tide will only get worse, with a peak coming Friday morning," said Eliasen said.

"Astronomically speaking, Friday's 8 a.m. high tide is the greatest of the bunch and it will come after 48 hours of pounding easterly winds," Eliasen concluded.


In Scituate, Mass., a shoreline town about 20 miles south of Boston, police Chief Brian Stewart breathed a sigh of relief Friday morning after high tide. The town got some coastal flooding -it almost always does during major storms — and eight roads were closed under 2 to 3 feet of water.

"It's coming over the usual spots," he said.

"I would say we were fortunate because at this point we have no reports of injuries or major damage," he said.

Residents of coastal roads evacuated voluntarily, with about 10 staying at a town shelter and the rest filling up a local hotel, he said.

In Whitman, Mass., which had gotten nearly a foot of snow by 10 a.m., Maureen Chittick's house was one of those that lost electricity for a while. Her grandchildren Nicole Clark, 15, and Gary Clark, 13, came inside for an old-fashioned game with marbles after shoveling the snow out of her driveway.