BOSTON - A late-winter storm that buried parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic swept into New England on Thursday, bringing snow, rain, strong winds, big waves and fears of coastal flooding.
The region braced for the brunt of the storm overnight Thursday and into today. Powerful waves and high winds were expected to cause more trouble than snow from Rhode Island to Maine.
In the seacoast town of Scituate, Mass., about 30 miles south of Boston, about a dozen streets were closed after Thursday morning's high tide sent up to 2 1/2 feet of water into some areas.
Emergency management officials said the evening tide brought fewer problems, but they worried about getting through this morning's high tide before the storm is expected to wind down. No severe flooding was reported elsewhere.
"There are no mandatory evacuations, but … we're recommending that people in areas that have experienced coastal flooding to evacuate three hours before high tide," said Scituate Police Chief Brian Stewart.
In Salisbury, Mass., on the New Hampshire border, officials ordered evacuations for homes along several beachfront streets.
The National Weather Service predicted up to 7 inches of heavy, wet snow in southeastern Connecticut and wind gusts up to 50 mph. A coastal flood warning was in effect for east-facing shores in Massachusetts, with up to a 3-foot surge at high tide in some areas. Central Massachusetts was bracing for 8 to 12 inches of snow, with predictions for Boston and nearby areas of 6 to 10 inches.
"We are watching a conveyor belt of wave after wave of snow coming in over the Atlantic," said Alan Dunham, meteorologist with the weather service in Taunton, Mass. "That will be continuing all night."
On Cape Cod, where the storm was expected to be mostly rain, officials were concerned about beach erosion. The area suffered extensive erosion from superstorm Sandy in October and a major snowstorm last month.
"We've really gotten more erosion in the last six months than we've experienced in the last decade," said Sandwich Town Manager George Dunham.
In Virginia, three people were killed, including a 22-year-old man who died Thursday when his vehicle ran off an icy road and landed upside down in a creek. No details were available on the other two storm-related deaths.