BOSTON – A slow-moving storm centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean dropped up to a foot of snow in New England, caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts and slowed the morning commute in the region to a slushy crawl.
In Massachusetts, flooding at the morning high tide closed some coastal roads north and south of Boston. On Plum Island, north of Boston, an unoccupied home fell into the ocean, apparently a victim of high tide, according to the Newburyport Daily News.
Snow and accidents were making the morning commute in Connecticut difficult for a second-straight day on Friday.
Schools across the region remaining closed, and thousands of homes and businesses remained without power.
Lisa Parisella was ready to dig out her sandals with spring less than two weeks away. But instead, the Beverly, Mass., woman found herself donning her winter boots for a trip to the grocery store Friday to make sure she had enough food for her kids, staying home from school because the slow-moving storm hit Massachusetts harder than expected.
"I was like OK, kids home, I need to go get some food," said Parisella, 47, an office manager who took the day off. "This was unexpected. They were broadcasting between and one and eight inches, so I assumed it was going to be one. 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."
Beverly got off comparatively easy, with just six inches of snow early Friday.
Some parts of the state had a foot or more by midmorning, with more expected before the storm peters out early in the afternoon. A winter storm warning remains in effect until 1 p.m.
In Scituate, Mass., a shoreline town about 20 miles south of Boston, police Chief Brian Stewart breathed a sigh of relief Friday morning after high tide.
The town got some coastal flooding --it almost always does during major storms -- and eight roads were closed under two to three feet of water.
"It's coming over the usual spots," he said.
"I would say we were fortunate because at this point we have no reports of injuries or major damage," he said.
Residents of coastal roads evacuated voluntarily, with about 10 staying at a town shelter and the rest filling up a local hotel, he said.
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. "These three storms are really taking a toll."
Some less severe beach erosion was forecast along the southern Maine coast, and up to six inches of snow in southern Maine and New Hampshire.
People in Connecticut were hoping for a break after a snowy winter. Much of the state saw 4 to 8 inches of snow by Friday, but nearly a foot was reported in the northeastern corner of the state.
The late-winter storm buried parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic before sweeping into New England.
In Virginia, three people were killed, including a 22-year-old man who died after his vehicle ran off an icy road. Up to 20 inches of snow piled up in central and western Virginia, which had more than 200,000 outages at the height of the storm. The storm dumped 2 feet of snow in parts of neighboring West Virginia, closing schools in more than half the state and leaving more than 20,000 customers without power. Two North Carolina boaters were missing offshore after a third crew member was rescued Wednesday.