MELROSE -- Hooded, huddled figures trudged their way through the whipping storm to the train stop this morning, stomping their boots on the platform to mark their arrival. They had made it. But no train had, for at least the past 20 minutes, and the sign said to expect delays.
At 8:30, it was the heart of rush hour, but the world was still. Plows rumbled by now and again, but cars were scarce, and even the market was closed. Except for the group on the wind-swept platform, there was no one in sight.
Most days, commuters keep the chitchat to a minimum, preferring to read or listen to music. But the shared experience of the storm seemed to make people feel neighborly, and conversation was brisk. This was a real storm, many said, not just some overblown flurries. The weathermen had gotten one right for once, a few quipped. And everyone, even those who normally curse the cold, agreed it was a beautiful snowfall.
Maybe it would snow again Sunday, a burly man in a Patriots hat said. The Patriots play great in the snow, others agreed.
People tried to log onto the MBTA web site for the latest, but it was down. As the wind whipped, drenching any clothes not made of Gor-tex, people stared down the tracks plaintively. But there was nothing to see but the swirling snow.
The wait wore on, and people fell into shivering silence. Some paced to stay warm. Others relocated to the market, where the wind wasn't as bad. A few decided they'd had enough, and headed home.
Near the stop, a large tree crackled as a snow-covered branch gave way, narrowly missing a power line.
Finally, mercifully, bells began to ring, and the train rounded the bend. The crowd let out a muffled cheer and clapped their gloves together. At last. Seeing the lowered gates, one late arrival scrambled through the snowy parking lot to the platform, smiling at her good luck.
The group trundled on to the train and savored the warmth. From behind the window, the long wait soon melted away, and the day became beautiful again.
SCITUATE -- Jim McCarthy has seen his share of winter storms, including the one last month that flooded parts of this South Shore town.
"You bet your life I was,'' worried about flooding, the 83-year-old McCarthy said as he stood outside his home on Jericho Road. "Last storm, I lost all my heating and some of my electricity, but I think we're going to luck out on this one. I hope.''
He added, "I have to take it day by day, it's the only thing I can do....not as bad as 1979. I was completely washed out. But the last one, just my heater and plugs in the electrical
system were ruined."
Low tides are keeping flooding at bay in Scituate during the powerful Nor'easter making its way up the coast, although the town is continuing to experience sporadic power outages. Although many parts of Scituate are without power, Police Chief Brian Stuart said National
Grid's response is more organized this time around.
"It seems better," he said. "The contracted tree cutters are out, and there seems to be more of a presence, so that's a good thing."
He added, "put it this way. They are here, and they weren't for awhile last time. But there is a lot to keep up with'' today.
The police station is continuing to do wellness checks for elderly residents without power and have been taking phone calls about downed wires and trees all morning.