‘It’s Like Lifting Cement’: New England Digs Out From Massive Blizzard

“It’s like lifting cement,” Michael Levesque said, digging a shovel into the feet of snow that fell in a little less than a day in Massachusetts.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Levesque articulated the desperation many New Englanders feel as they try to recover from the blizzard that blew in on Friday, dumping as much as three feet of snow on many areas.

The storm knocked out power to more than 650,000 homes and canceled thousands of flights. The 25 million people living along the New York-Boston corridor were impacted as snow clogged roads, leaving them impassable and burying cars.

In Massacusetts, Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency, restricting driving to only essential personnel. Businesses closed and the NHL matchup between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning was called off.

The storm is already being blamed for seven deaths, including that of an 11-year-old boy who died of carbon monoxide poisoning, Fox News reported. The boy was shoveling snow with his father when he got too cold to continue, so his father put him in the car to wait. The car was stuck in a snowbank with its exhaust pipe covered, and the boy collapsed and was taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

Though the storm’s effects were felt across a wide path, it was not as damaging as some forecasts had feared. Initial projections put it worse than the historic blizzard of 1978, but the storm fell short of the devastation of more than 35 years ago.

From The Associated Press:

“In New York, where Central Park recorded 11 inches, not even enough to make the Top 10 list, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city “dodged a bullet” and its streets were ‘in great shape.’ The three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, N.J. — were up and running by late morning after shutting down the evening before.”

But the storm still created a huge impact. There were still more than 300,000 homes without power in Massachusetts by Sunday, with many residents facing a long day of digging out. And as Levesque said — “It’s like lifting cement.”