WHITMAN, Mass. - The late-winter storm that buried parts of the country was forecast to be little more than a nuisance for most of New England. Try telling that to Connecticut and Massachusetts residents who spent two days shoveling as much as 2 feet snow.
"The forecast was 4 to 6 inches, and I think I'm looking at about 12 to 14 inches," West Roxbury resident Mark Spillane said as snow continued to fall Friday. "I did not expect to have to bring out the snow blower."
The storm was centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean, and by the time it reached New England, forecasters were focused on the potential for coastal flooding and not snow, which in many places was predicted to reach a maximum of 6 or 8 inches.
The coastline was battered by three high tides during the duration of the storm, the worst Friday morning, when some roads in coastal towns were flooded with up to 3 feet of water. A vacant house on Plum Island, off the northeast coast of Massachusetts, was ripped from its foundation and collapsed into the sea. Other homes there were badly damaged.
But in most places, it was the persistent snow that threw people for a loop.
The National Weather Service reported nearly 13 inches of snow at Boston's Logan International Airport as of 1 p.m., with more than 2 feet in a few Massachusetts towns and nearly that much in many others. Some parts of Connecticut and New Hampshire also saw more than a foot.
With spring less than two weeks away, Lisa Parisella, of Beverly, Mass., had been ready to dig out her sandals. Instead, she found herself donning her winter boots for a trip to the grocery store to make sure she had enough food for her kids, whose classes were canceled Friday.
"This was unexpected," said Parisella, 47, an office manager. Forecasts had called for between 1 and 8 inches. Instead, her town had well over a foot by noon, and snow continued to fall. "I was ready to start decorating for spring. I was thinking, March, ready to take out the sandals, and I'm taking out the boots again."
Tim Wicker, a self-employed 32-year-old resident of Norwich, Conn., said the latest storm wasn't too bad, but he was also longing for spring.
"The other day I was out in a T-shirt," Wicker said. "Now we're dealing with this again. It's going to be 54 on Sunday. It's just New England."
Charley Foley, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, said the higher snowfalls were caused by winds swirling around the storm that subtly changed course from the northeast to a more northerly direction. That allowed the storm to tap colder air from Canada, pick up moisture from the warmer ocean and dump snow on New England.