Road conditions treacherous but no serious injuries reported

In Brookline yesterday, Annette Chung waited for a train that would take her to work. In Brookline yesterday, Annette Chung waited for a train that would take her to work. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)
By David Abel and Martin Finucane
Globe Staff / January 22, 2011

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A fast-moving storm dumped more than 8 inches of a light, fluffy snow on much of the state yesterday, making the morning commute miserable for many drivers, scores of whom spun out on highways across the region.

The storm, which pushed Boston past the average winter snowfall total before moving out to sea about noon, resulted in treacherous road conditions in some spots and may have caused a crash that injured a State Police trooper.

Trooper Ulises Ayuso’s cruiser was rear-ended by another vehicle in the westbound lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Brighton. He was treated and released from St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

“Fortunately, with all the spinouts and vehicles going off the side of roads, there were no serious injures or fatalities as a result of the storm,’’ said a State Police spokesman, David Procopio.

The driver who hit the trooper, Peterson Frederico, 37, of Revere, was cited for driving an unregistered motor vehicle, speeding, and failing to take care in stopping, Procopio said.

Peter Judge, a spokesman of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said the powdery snow and light winds resulted in few power outages across the state. He said there were fewer than 100 power outages reported, and many of those had nothing to do with the storm.

Judge and other state officials said traffic was light on most roads, though busier than during the last storm on Tuesday, as many schools, colleges, towns, and businesses closed for the day.

“It was not an eventful day, fortunately,’’ Judge said. “It was a traffic event, so to speak, only because of the timing.’’

About 100 flights were canceled in and out of Logan International Airport, but few flights experienced major delays, said Phil Orlandella, an airport spokesman. Both runways remained open.

The MBTA reported problems on subway, bus, and commuter lines, but there were no system-wide issues related solely to the storm. The Mattapan High Speed Line was closed because of the snow.

Luisa Paiewonsky, administrator of the state Department of Transportation’s Highway Division, said her staff had nearly 3,800 plows, sanders, and other equipment, as well as more than 700 transportation employees clearing state highways.

“Because of the time it came, we had to put a large number of plows out at the peak time of the commute,’’ she said.

The National Weather Service in Taunton reported that 49.6 inches of snow had fallen this season in Boston by the end of yesterday’s storm, exceeding the average for an entire winter (41.8 inches). Normally at this time of year the city would have received about 16.3 inches of snow.

In Boston, 35.7 inches of snow fell last year. The city’s record snowfall is 107.6 inches, which was measured in 1995-1996, said Rebecca Gould, , a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

She said yesterday’s storm hit Grafton the hardest, leaving 9 inches. Other high tallies: Wilmington received 8.7 inches, Winchester 8.2, and Framingham and Milford 8.1.

More snow is expected next week. The weather service is eyeing a “potential major storm’’ on Wednesday.

Gould said the storm tracks seem to be taking the big snow blasts to Massachusetts this winter. Last winter, it was the mid-Atlantic’s turn, she said.

“This year, they seem just headed right for us,’’ she said.

She said area residents should prepare to bundle up this weekend as temperatures are expected to plummet to single digits and below. The temperature in Boston is expected to drop to zero tomorrow night, the coldest in the area since January 2005.

State and city officials urged residents to be careful with space heaters, a common cause of fires, and to allow water to trickle from faucets to avoid freezing pipes.

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said this weekend would test heating and electrical systems.

“Keep thermostats set at the lowest comfortable temperature, as furnaces may struggle to keep the house warm; wear warm clothes; and put an extra blanket on the bed,’’ Coan said in a statement. “If you run out of oil or lose power, consider going to the home of a friend or relative who has heat, rather than relying on alternative heating sources.’’

John Ellement of the Globe staff contributed to this report. David Abel can be reached at; Martin Finucane can be reached at