WASHINGTON, D.C. — New England began the slow process Saturday evening of digging out from a massive storm that dropped more than 2 feet of snow across the region.
Recovery was expected to be slow. An estimated 660,000 customers in nine states were without electricity and highways were littered with abandoned cars. Bitter cold temperatures were expected overnight Saturday.
The heaviest snow was reported in southern Connecticut, with as much as 34 inches on the ground. The snow was so deep that plows were getting stuck. Hartford, Boston and Providence, R.I., were covered with 2 feet of snow. Most of the customers without power were in Massachusetts.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said the city weathered the storm well. He asked for patience as crews begin to clean up.
While work was under way to restore power, utility companies weren’t making predictions of how long the process would take.
A spokeswoman for National Grid PLC said in an interview on New England Cable Network that the company was focusing on transmission lines first and did not think that crews with bucket trucks would start work immediately. National Grid is the London-based power and gas company whose North American operations include more than 9,000 miles of transmission lines that serve more than 3.3 million homes in New England,
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power plant in Plymouth, Mass., owned by Entergy Corp. lost power Friday night and shut down during the storm. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the company said there was no threat to public safety.
An Entergy spokeswoman said the plant remained offline Saturday and the plant’s diesel generators are supplying power to plant equipment.
The storm battered the region beginning late Friday. High winds lashing the entire region. Coastal regions were flooded.
The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut lifted driving bans that had been in place so that snow could be cleared and crews could work to get power restored.
An estimated 50 million people were dealing with the effects of the storm, named Nemo, which moved into the region early Friday.
New York City was spared from the brunt of the storm. Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported that highways and primary roads were clear. He urged residents not to drive so plows could reach side streets.
Elsewhere in the region, highways were littered with abandoned cars. There were reports that people were trapped in their cars overnight on Interstate 95 and the Long Island Expressway.
FlightAware, a website that tracks cancellations, said more than 5,300 flights had been canceled because of the storm.
Late Saturday, airplanes were landing at the three New York airports after crews cleared runways.
Officials at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn., said the airport was still closed for snow removal but added that there could be flights arriving Saturday night.
Logan International Airport in Boston will only be able to open one runway Saturday and not until 11 p.m.
Amtrak suspended service between New York and Boston for Saturday.
The NHL postponed a Boston Bruins-Tampa Bay Lightning Game set for Saturday night.