March keeps coming in like a lion: Third nor’easter in 12 days slams region

March keeps coming in like a lion: Third nor’easter in 12 days slams region

WESTERLY — As winter-weary residents of southern New England recover from two damaging nor’easters, a third snowstorm will arrive early Tuesday morning and continue throughout the day. 

This latest storm will bring even more snow, 6 to 12 inches along the coast and 18 inches or more in northern Rhode Island and Massachusetts. A blizzard warning has been issued for much of Cape Cod.

Unlike the heavy wet snow from previous storms, this time the snow in most places will be fluffy and dry.

National grid spokesman Tim Rondeau said lighter snow could mean fewer power outages.

“We expect this storm to be slightly less interruptive than what we’ve seen over the past two weeks,” he said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham warned that fluffy or not, there would still be a great deal of snow to cope with.

“It won’t be a pasty snow by any stretch of the imagination, but you know, when you’re talking 6 to 12 inches, that’s still a lot of snow,” he said.

National Grid has retained the outside crews that assisted with the other storms, and will once again use Ninigret Park as its southern Rhode Island staging area.

“We have 173 line crews and 80 tree crews ready to go,” Rondeau said.

In Massachusetts, which, in some areas, could get up to 20 inches of snow, there are 354 line crews and 216 tree crews standing by. Rondeau noted that crews would be moved if necessary.

“If Rhode Island is getting more [snow] and Massachusetts gets less, we can move crews as needed,” he said.

The winds from the new storm will be strong, up to 55 miles per hour on the coast, but probably not as damaging as the first nor’easter.

“Not quite as strong,” Dunham said. “It depends where you are. Each storm has been a little bit different. The first storm, southeast Massachusetts, the Cape and Islands, even a lot of Rhode Island had very strong winds, so you had a lot of power outages. The next storm came along and there was more snow, especially the I-495 corridor in Massachusetts getting really hammered, which caused a lot of power outages. It’s still going to be a significant storm.”

At the storm’s peak on Tuesday morning, forecasters said driving conditions would be “poor to impossible,” with snow falling at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour in some areas.

The towns said they were ready for the storm with plenty of salt and sand and money still left in their overtime budgets. 

“I’m just hoping that we don’t have tree and power line issues,” Richmond Carolina Fire Chief and Department of Public Works Director Scott Barber said. “That’s makes it difficult, because then you have to alter the plow routes because the trucks can’t get through. Then you’re trying to clean up the trees, make the roads accessible, then you get behind on the snow plowing.”

The storms have made things tough for commercial fishermen. Chris Brown, president of the Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said not only could the boats not go out during the storms, the turbulent ocean had made fish difficult to find after the storms had pulled out.

“It’s more than just the time you lose fishing,” he said. “It tears the ocean up. It breaks the fish up. They go into some sort of an uncatchable mode and it really hurts. You get these things back to back, it kicks the crap out of you.”

Brown said he and a crewman were out Sunday on his vessel, the Proud Mary, about 65 miles south of Point Judith, and they kept catching skate, a sign that the ocean floor had been disturbed by the storms.

“We were all day long catching skates, which is a sign of a shake-up, if you have the bottom disrupted,” he said. “Skates are just everywhere.”

Brown was just getting in Monday afternoon from fishing for fluke eight miles south of Block Island.

“It was just starting to calm down now, the water’s geting clear and the swells have subsided, and guess what we’re having tonight?” he said. “Guys don’t enjoy it, but this is certainly a part of it. When you have a job harvesting wild caught stocks, you’re going to take it — the good, the bad and the wild.”



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