Saturday March 9, 2013

BOSTON (AP) -- Southern New England residents reeling from a late winter storm that dumped up to 2 feet of snow in two days were enjoying warmer temperatures Saturday that weather forecasters said might last into early next week and melt some of the packed snow.

Parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island saw the mercury rise into the upper 40s and lower 50s on Saturday. The forecast called for warmer readings, at least in the 40s, during the day through Monday. Temperatures at night could fall into the 20s, freezing some of the melted snow and creating travel hazards on untreated surfaces.

The packed snow began melting in the warmer daytime temperatures Saturday in the region.

"On the streets, there could be some running water, but we are not expecting any flooding. It's a gradual melt," said meteorologist Kim Buttrick of the National Weather Service.

Buttrick said the rosy picture on land did not extend offshore, where a gale warning was in force. Gusty winds and high seas will make conditions treacherous.

In Massachusetts, two houses tumbled into the sea on Plum Island and other homes were badly damaged in the Thursday-Friday storm. The coastline was battered by three high tides during the duration of the storm, the worst Friday morning, when some roads in coastal towns were flooded with up to 3 feet of water.


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The system was centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean, and forecasters were focused on the potential for coastal flooding, not snow, by the time it reached New England. But a subtle change in wind direction caused the storm to tap colder air from Canada. It picked up moisture over the warmer ocean and dumped much more snow on parts of New England than the predicted 6 to 8 inches.

The weather service said about 23 inches of snow fell in Staffordville, Conn.; more than 29 inches in the Blue Hills area just outside Boston; and more than 12 inches in North Cumberland, R.I.