Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island ahead of the storm ordered motorists to stay off the streets under threat of imprisonment and fines -- up to a year in jail and $500 in Rhode Island.And the state handling and media reportage is certainly a part of this story. In retrospect, were the severe threats about driving necessary or would strongly worded cautions not have accomplished the same thing? One year in jail for venturing out during a storm, really? Free citizens should not be subjected to such draconian warnings--they should deduce as much through common sense and not be treated like children. Besides, the roads were going to be near impossible to traverse anyway.
Regardless, the storm was indeed a monster. But despite the early hype about it being record-breaking in Boston, the President's Day storm of 2003 (and it's 27.5 inches), and the Blizzard of 78 (and it's 27.1 inches) began the day with their top spots still secure in Beantown weather record books..
But Connecticut saw the most accumulation with up to 38 inches in cities like Milford, while the Massachusetts cities of Worcester and Boston received 27 and 21 inches, respectively, with winds howling up to 75 mph.The winds did howl, or rather gust to hurricane force in some areas, but not inland at places like Worcester, it was mainly along the shoreline communities, not quite fulfilling the exaggerated predictions. The weather sensor at Boston Logan airport reported a wind gust to 76 mph and another to 98 mph overnight but those are not confirmed--the one to 98 was almost surely an equipment malfunction unless one of the Kennedy clan got control and tweaked the reading. But it was certainly blizzardy, no doubt.
All in all a big, bad Nor'easter, bigger than most, but not entirely unusual in the northeast during winter....
Since 1969, accounting for measured snowfalls in communities within the Route 128 belt and not just Boston proper, we've had 10 storms that have eclipsed 20 inches.More than one per decade, in other words.
Looking back, the storm was well predicted by the weather people and the media did what they do. Looking forward, it will be interesting to see whether it becomes a political football in the days, weeks and months ahead.