TIME weather

9 Insane Facts About Boston’s Snow

These numbers show just how rough the winter has been

Boston has been pummeled with record snowfall this season, and more is likely on the way—a storm is predicted to drop 8 to 10 inches this weekend. Here are 9 reasons why that’s not particularly welcome news for Bostonians:

1. Boston set a new record for most snowfall in a 30-day period, with 73.3 inches between Jan. 12 and Feb. 10.

2. The city’s total accumulation for the winter season is 79.5 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

3. That means Boston needs 28.2 more inches before spring to top its all-time seasonal record of 107.6, which it reached in 1995-96.

4. Across the state, plows have shoveled enough snow to fill the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium 90 times.

5. Boston plows have worked a cumulative 136,652 hours as of this writing.

6. In that time, they’ve cleared 244,064 miles of snow.

7. 70,051 tons of salt have been spread on Boston’s roads.

8. Snow melting machines are able to melt 430 tons of snow per hour on the city’s municipal “snow farms,” empty lots where trucks dump the excess buildup from street corners.

9. All of which has cost the city at least $30 million in snow cleanup since Jan. 25.

Bostonians, be careful out there.

TIME weather

Northeast Faces Coldest Temperatures In Decades

Forecasters warn a lot of people will have never experienced cold that bad

Millions of Americans across the Northeast were warned by forecasters to prepare this weekend for some of the coldest temperatures in two decades.

The dangerously bitter conditions are expected to come on the back of yet another winter storm bringing more snow, ice, and high winds across the Northeast beginning Saturday.

The cold will start to creep in early Friday, according to The Weather Channel, and the mercury is expected to plummet until it hits the low single digits in New York City early on Monday. With the windchill forecast between -15 F and -30 F, it is set to be “one of the coldest air masses we have seen in the Northeast in 20 years,” according to Weather Channel senior meteorologist Michael Palmer.

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

Read next: The Curious Ways Brutal Snowstorms Affect How We Shop

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TIME weather

Monster Hurricanes Could Become More Frequent, Scientists Warn

Hurricane Research Katrina Hugo
NOAA/Getty Images Hurricane Igor gets stronger as it turns west-northwest in the direction of Bermuda on Sept. 14, 2010 in the Atlantic Ocean as seen from space.

"We may need to begin planning for a category 3 hurricane landfall every decade or so"

Storms like the devastating 2005 Hurricane Katrina may start becoming more frequent due to climate change, a new study says.

Sediment deposits suggest that during prehistoric times, severe hurricanes were slamming America’s eastern seaboard with a very high frequency—every 40 years—due to warmer ocean temperatures, according to the study, published Wednesday in Earth’s Future. Today, ocean temperatures off New England, which have slowly risen over the past several decades, are now higher than prehistoric levels.

According to the research, the prehistoric storms were likely category 3 hurricanes, such as Hurricane Katrina, or category 4 storms such as Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which would have catastrophic consequences if they reached land.

“We hope this study broadens our sense of what is possible and what we should expect in a warmer climate,” said the study’s lead author Jeff Donnelly in a statement. “We may need to begin planning for a category 3 hurricane landfall every decade or so rather than every 100 or 200 years. The risk may be much greater than we anticipated.”

MONEY Shopping

The Curious Ways Brutal Snowstorms Affect How We Shop

The region is being hit once again by snow, and some businesses such as this T.J. Maxx store in North Andover, Mass., were closed, February 9, 2015.
Jim Davis—Boston Globe via Getty Images The Northeast was hit once again by snow, and some businesses such as this T.J. Maxx store in North Andover, Mass., were closed, February 9, 2015.

As the snow piles up in the Northeast, business suffers at many restaurants and stores, as you'd expect. But bad weather isn't bad news across the board for retailers.

We’ve seen the pattern repeat itself many times over. Weather forecasters predict a big winter storm, and long before the snowflakes appear, panicked shoppers hit the supermarkets to grab whatever milk, bread, eggs, and, if you’re at Whole Foods, kale, is still available.

Likewise, the arrival of a blizzard—or rather, the forecast that one could be coming—all but guarantees that there to be a run on shovels, sand, salt, and other snow-coping materials at hardware stores and home improvement centers. Gas stations and stores selling winter boots and other cold-weather gear can rely on storm forecasts to create sales spikes too.

In these ways, at least, the storms pounding New England and much of the Mid-Atlantic region over the past few weeks have boosted retail sales in ways not seen since, well, last winter, when the polar vortex caused mad rushes on grocery stores throughout the Midwest.

And yet, bad winter weather is hardly a good thing for retail in general. In fact, for stores that aren’t selling groceries, gas, shovels, or boots, blizzards can be business killers. Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, told the Boston Herald that “conservatively,” retailers in the state have lost $10 million for each day they’ve been closed or had almost no business thanks to relentless snow. Restaurant owners in Rhode Island are calling this “the worst February in years” thanks to snow keeping would-be customers at home. Overall, a 2014 IHS Global Insight study found that a single-day shutdown in New York can add up to $700 million in total economic costs, including $152 million in lost retail sales.

Presumably, the bulk of those lost sales transactions would have been conducted in person. After all, snow and cold weather can only prod more consumers to stay indoors and shop online, right? Actually, the impact of big snowstorms on online shopping is a bit muddled.

On the one hand, 16% of consumers in a recent survey from Fluent said that they have shopped less this winter, while 27% said they have done more online shopping. So snow + frigid temperatures = increased online sales, right? Not so quick.

According to Adobe Digital Index data, the winter storm that hammered the Northeast in late January resulted in a $35 million decrease in online sales, largely because people were home rather than at work. “During the work week, a lot of people really do shop from their work desktop,” Adobe analyst Tamara Gaffney explained to InternetRetailer.com. “You also have power outages and people out shoveling snow. They’re not shopping, they’re doing other things. It has a negative impact on e-commerce.”

Another way that winter storms can wreak havoc on e-retail is that when roads are impassable or close to it, it’s extraordinarily difficult for goods to simply be picked up or delivered. For instance, a Federal Express Service Alert issued this week warned that in light of persistent snowy weather in the Northeast, “some service delays and disruptions can be anticipated for inbound and outbound shipments in CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA and VT.”

For what it’s worth, the impact of snow—even a series of storms in a particularly bad winter—is generally short-lived. Often, if snow or cold weather brings about a slow period for sales of cars or home appliances or whatever, there will be a significant, corresponding rise in sales once things warm up. In other words, the sales shift; they don’t simply disappear.

Besides, retailers really shouldn’t go blaming uncooperative weather as the reason sales have been poor. “It’s usually one of those ‘dog ate my homework’ excuses,” Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told Bloomberg News last fall, when some apparel stores were pointing the finger at warm weather for why winter fashions weren’t selling well. “Whenever something can’t be explained and is an anomaly — and it happens to coincide with an unusual weather pattern — that becomes the reason people supposedly didn’t shop.”

The observation calls to mind the way that Big Beer blamed unseasonably cold weather in the spring of 2013 as a prime reason macro beer brands like Budweiser, Miller Lite, and Heineken were experiencing slumping sales. Meanwhile, Bud and other major beer brands have seen sales decrease for years, and why this is so has a lot more to do with the increasing popularity of craft beer, cider, boutique spirit distilleries, and other alternatives to pale mass-produced American lagers than it does to any bad spell of weather.

TIME weather

See This Abandoned Ohio Mall Buried in Snow

Snow covers the abandoned Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio.
Johnny Joo Snow covers the abandoned Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio.

A surreal winter lanscape

Heavy snow shattered the glass ceiling of an abandoned mall in Akron, Ohio, transforming an ordinary atrium into a bizarre wintry landscape.

Photojournalist Johnny Joo stumbled on the scene at Rolling Acres Mall during one of his frequent photo excursions to the area’s abandoned buildings, which he regularly posts to his website. “Nature paints a soft and beautiful world into the last place you would expect to see it,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

TIME

Six Feet Under: Buried in Snow in Boston

More than two feet of snow covered parts of New England on Monday in the region's third snow storm in one month, crippling Boston's transit system

TIME weather

New England Feels Under the Weather After Record Snowfall

Fenway Park Buried By Heavy Snowfall
Jessica Rinaldi—Boston Globe/Getty Images A piece of heavy equipment is used to clear snow from the warning track at Fenway Park in Boston on Feb. 9, 2015.

It won't stop

(BOSTON) — A relentless storm that dumped more than two feet of snow on some parts of New England was finally expected to wind down on Tuesday but not before bringing the Boston-area public transit system to its knees and forcing some communities to consider dumping piles of snow into the ocean to help relieve clogged streets.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker gave another day off to non-emergency state workers who live in the hardest hit areas of the state and the mayor of Boston said schools would remain closed for another day. The storm on top of two others that hit recently has shattered snowfall records for a 30-day period in the city.

To make matters worse, forecasters said more snow was possible on Thursday.

Still, some residents were taking it all in stride.

“Honestly, I’m OK with it,” said Helen Ferullo, 70, of Weymouth, which had received 26.5 inches of snow as of late Monday. “You can’t change it. The snow is there. You can’t do anything about it.”

Here’s the latest on the winter that just won’t quit.

TRAVEL WOES

Boston-area subways, trolleys and commuter rail trains ground to a halt at 7 p.m. Monday and were scheduled to remain idle on Tuesday, with only limited bus service continuing. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it needed the break to clear snow and ice from tracks and to assess equipment damaged by the spate of storms.

“If they’re not going to be operating well, then they shouldn’t be operating at all,” said Joseph Dell’Erario, 24, as he took one of the last trains home to Somerville before the shutdown Monday night.

Baker said he was frustrated by the problems on the MBTA, the nation’s oldest transit system, and promised a “long conversation” with T officials on how to improve matters once the weather subsides.

Amtrak canceled portions of its passenger train service linking upstate New York to New York City because of the storm Monday and hundreds of flights were canceled at New England airports. Officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport said they hoped normal passenger service would resume by midday Tuesday.

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SNOW PLOW DEATH

A 60-year-old man who had just finished work at a supermarket bakery in Medford, Massachusetts, was struck in a parking lot by a private snow plowing truck Monday and died after being taken to a hospital, authorities said. Police interviewed the driver of the snow plow but no charges were immediately filed in the death of Cesar Moya.

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MORE SNOW, LESS DOUGH

The steady run of winter blasts has already sucked up over 70 percent of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation winter maintenance budget. Rhode Island, too, said Monday’s storm will use up what’s left of its $14 million budget for snow removal and nearly the entire salt stockpile. The mayor of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said snow removal was eating up so much of the city’s budget that he ordered officials to hold off on hiring new personnel or purchasing non-essential items. Baker has asked Massachusetts lawmakers for an additional $50 million in snow removal funds even as the state grapples with an overall budget deficit of $768 million.

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OCEAN DUMPING APPROVED

Massachusetts environmental officials gave cities and towns with no place else to put accumulating snow the green light to dump some into the ocean or other bodies of water if necessary.

The Department of Environmental Protection on Monday cited the challenges involved in getting rid of the historic snowfalls. Local communities may seek permission to take emergency steps that allow disposal of snow into open water, which is normally prohibited.

Officials also were using giant melters to liquefy snow.

___

ROOF COLLAPSES

Massachusetts emergency management officials urged residents and business owners to take steps to clear snow from roofs vulnerable to collapse under the weight of the snow. Several partial roof collapses were reported on Monday, including at a building in Quincy that was the former set of “The Finest Hours” — a Disney film about a Coast Guard rescue of crewmen aboard an oil tanker wrecked off Cape Cod during a 1952 blizzard. The movie starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck is scheduled to open next year.

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TRIALS DELAYED

Two high-profile Massachusetts trials have been further delayed by the snow. State court officials said testimony in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez would not resume until Wednesday. Jury selection for the federal trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, also was called off on Tuesday.

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OVERHEARD ON THE STREETS

“They were pretty much walking around like zombies. They’ve been working for 20 hours straight.” — Carrie Sullivan, describing plow drivers eating at her Weymouth diner.

“I’m really getting sick of the snow. It’s relentless.” — Matt Beauregard, owner of the Capital Deli in Concord, New Hampshire.

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Associated Press writers Amy Crawford in Westborough, Massachusetts; William J. Kole, Mark Pratt, Rodrique Ngowi, Steve LeBlanc and Philip Marcelo in Boston; and Rik Stevens in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.

TIME weather

Boston Might Dump Excess Snow Into the Harbor

Winter Storm Once Agan Brings Region To A Crawl
Pat Greenhouse—Boston Globe/Getty Images Crews use an Aero Snow Melter to dispatch mounds of snow at the Marine Industrial Park snow farm on Feb. 8, 2015.

Beantown has received 61 inches in the past 30 days

Boston is considering dumping snow into the ocean as it runs out of room to deposit its recent snowfall.

The city has received 61 inches in the past 30 days, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh says Boston’s snow melters are unable to keep up with the demand, the Boston Globe reports. The city’s vacant “snow farms” are also almost filled up.

“We’re going to explore the opportunity of putting this snow in the ocean,” Walsh said. “We’re looking at that now because of the amount of snow we have.”

Dumping snow into the ocean is normally prohibited, except for special occasions when extreme snowfall puts public safety at risk. A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection says the snow-removal tactic is allowed, as long as the city notifies the state and the Boston Conservation Commission. Several other cities in the state have already notified state authorities of similar plans.

“We’re not at a public safety concern yet, but we will be if we keep getting snow like this,” Walsh said.

[Boston Globe]

TIME weather

Northeast Braces for Another Major Winter Storm

Snow Storm Weather Boston Massachusetts
Brian Snyder—Reuters Pedestrians make their way along a snow covered street during a winter snow storm in Cambridge, Mass. on Feb. 9, 2015.

The Boston area was expected to receive 1 to 2 feet of snow through Tuesday

(BOSTON) — The third major winter storm in less than two weeks inflicted fresh snow — and misery — across New England and portions of New York state on Monday. Boston, facing up to 2 more feet, grappled with a conundrum: Where to put it all?

Doug Buckley, a truck driver delivering food to restaurants in Boston, captured the city’s winter weariness: “I want to take a plane to Florida.”

Here’s how the latest snowstorm is ravaging the region again:

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BESIEGED UNTIL EARLY TUESDAY

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for central New York, the western Catskills and much of New England through early Tuesday.

Some areas of Massachusetts had about a foot of snow before dawn, and the storm was expected to last all day Monday. The weather service reported an unofficial measurement of nearly 20 inches in Weymouth, 18.5 inches in Norwell and 16 inches in Hingham as of midmorning Monday. Fitchburg, Leominster and Lunenburg in north-central Massachusetts were all at 13 inches or more. Logan Airport in Boston had a foot, and the city was forecast to get as much as 2 feet.

In New York, the snow stretched from Buffalo to the Hudson Valley, one day after 6 inches of snow fell on parts of the region. Much of Connecticut braced for 6 to 12 inches.

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‘PRETTY MUCH UNPRECEDENTED’

In Massachusetts alone since last month’s blizzard struck, state workers have removed enough snow to fill Gillette Stadium 90 times over, Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Monday morning, calling the situation “pretty much unprecedented.”

Boston set a record for the most snow recorded in a 30-day period, with 61.6 inches by 7 a.m. Monday, breaking the record of 58.8 inches set in February 1978.

Baker ordered nonemergency state employees to stay at home.

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ROOF COLLAPSES

Massachusetts emergency management officials confirmed that snow-laden roofs collapsed Monday in Quincy, Rockport and Bridgewater. No injuries were reported.

Quincy police said a former set of “The Finest Hours” — a Disney film about a Coast Guard rescue of crewmen aboard an oil tanker wrecked off Cape Cod during a 1952 blizzard — suffered a partial collapse at an old shipyard in Quincy. The movie starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck is scheduled to open next year.

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MORE TRANSIT HEADACHES

Amtrak canceled portions of its passenger train service in upstate New York because of the storm. It said some trains linking New York City to Albany-Rensselaer and Niagara Falls, New York, were canceled. New York’s Metro-North Harlem line had delays of up to 45 minutes.

Boston’s Logan International Airport was allowing only a limited amount of flights to arrive and depart Monday. Travelers were urged to check with their airlines. In Maine, Portland International Jetport and Bangor International Airport reported numerous cancellations.

Boston’s transit system, the nation’s oldest, has been particularly hard hit this winter. The buildup of snow and ice on trolley tracks combined with aging equipment has stalled trains, delaying and angering commuters. On Monday, nearly 50 commuters were rescued from a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train that became disabled between stations in Quincy, just south of Boston.

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DEEP FREEZE COMPLICATIONS

Adding insult to injury, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned that potentially record-low temperatures and wind chills are expected to move into the region later in the week.

Baker said state offices would be closed for nonemergency personnel Monday, and he encouraged businesses to allow employees to work from home or stay home so they wouldn’t be on the roads.

The steady run of winter blasts has already sucked up over 70 percent of New Hampshire’s Department of Transportation winter maintenance budget.

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WHERE TO PUT IT ALL?

In many New England communities, the obvious problem is where to put the new snow.

State snow disposal guidelines require that communities use locations that won’t harm environmental resources and have barriers that prevent contaminants from seeping into groundwater when the snow melts. In Massachusetts, officials were using giant melters to liquefy the latest snow.

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FOUR MEN AND A JEEP

Carrie Sullivan, a manager at Uncle Charlie’s Finer Diner in Weymouth, Massachusetts, said she needed four men and a Jeep to dislodge her car from piles of snow in her driveway early Monday. When she finally got to work two hours later, the diner was filled with plow drivers and electric company crews.

“They were pretty much walking around like zombies. They’ve been working for 20 hours straight,” she said.

“I think we’d all like to get a little bit back to normal,” she said. “For now, we’ll just keep bringing the coffee and the hot pancakes.”

At the Capital Deli in Concord, New Hampshire’s downtown district, owner Matt Beauregard wasn’t shy about how he felt about the latest storm to blanket the city.

“I’m really getting sick of the snow,” Beauregard said. “It’s relentless.”

TIME weather

Northeast on Winter Storm Watch Once Again

US-WEATHER-SNOW-STORM
Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images A woman walks on a street during a snow storm in New York on Feb. 2, 2015. Another storm is forecast for the region.

Massachusetts to be worst hit by latest in series of storms

More than 36 million people are under winter weather advisories on Sunday ahead of another long-lasting batch of bad weather due to hit the Northeast. The storm promises a “major headache” for travelers, according to The Weather Channel, with storm warnings stretching from New York through Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The National Weather Service issued advisories and said the storm system will bring “heavy snow,” with more than a foot of powder expected to fall in some parts of the Northeast. Bill Karins, an NBC News meteorologist, said that the worst of the storm will hit …

Read more from our partners at NBC News

 

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