Winter Storm That Hit Boston Gets Official Blizzard Designation

BOSTON (CBS) — The large Nor’easter that hit Massachusetts with up to 18 inches of snow officially became a blizzard as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

It was the first official blizzard in Boston since the nine-hour storm that hit on January 27, 2015.

A blizzard warning was in effect through 8 p.m. for the eastern part of the state.

More: Snow Totals From February 9 Storm

Conditions on highways and roads across the Commonwealth had deteriorated to near-zero visibility, with several spin-outs and crashes reported.

Gov. Charlie Baker urged the public to stay off the roads and avoid all travel if possible. Baker says crews will continue to clear the roads overnight.

Drivers who were out on the roads Thursday were experiencing trouble with their windshield wipers icing over.

The Zakim Bridge was briefly closed due to a crash caused by several cars spinning out. The bridge was reopened, but Massachusetts State Police said to expect delays.

Earlier in the day, speed was reduced to 40 mph on the Mass Pike all the way from New York to Boston.

MassDOT said 3,256 plow crews were out across the state.

On Cape Cod, the story was less about snow and more about wind–with gusts reaching 61 mph.

Winds were battering the Cape, causing power outages and downed wires.

As of 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Eversource reported 35,888 outages across eastern Massachusetts, while National Grid reported 1,257.

More than 600 schools across Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire were closed Thursday. More than 160 schools canceled classes Friday, and more than 150 were scheduled to open late.

Check: School Closings, Delays

There were reports of thundersnow coming in from Bristol, Connecticut, as well as Mansfield and Norton, Massachusetts.

Massport told WBZ-TV that over 600 flights at Logan Airport had been cancelled–or, about 60 percent of scheduled flights. They were set to try to keep one runway open throughout the storm, but said they would consider shutting down airport operations entirely.

“For the rest of the day, there’s a significant amount of cancellations up until about 6 p.m.,” said Massport Director of Aviation Ed Freni. “The airlines are running their schedules later on this evening. They’re going to try to get a full compliment of airplanes in here tonight, after the storm subsides, to make up hopefully a full schedule tomorrow.”

Allison from Boston told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe she was trying to get to Utah to go skiing–though she said she’s afraid she’ll have to ski home from Logan if her already-rebooked flight is cancelled.

“I’m not quite sure why yet, but they moved me to the next flight, so I’m getting in a bit later today,” she said. “I’m kind of hoping that I make the connection!”

Keolis, the company that operates the MBTA Commuter Rail, posted a video of their snow-fighting equipment. Gov. Baker said Thursday that the company had much more of such equipment in place than they did during the record-breaking storms that hit the Boston area in 2015.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollock said MBTA trains and buses were operating on a normal schedule with no significant delays.

The Steamship Authority cancelled all remaining trips to Nantucket Thursday, and all ferry trips to Martha’s Vineyard were operating on a trip-by-trip basis.

Starting at 11 a.m., Hubway said that no more of their bikes could be rented, though any bikes out at that time could still be returned to a docking station.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports

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