BOSTON — A slow-moving storm centered far out in the Atlantic Ocean dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of New England, caused coastal flooding in Massachusetts and turned the morning commute in the region into a slushy crawl.
Flooding from the slow-moving storm, which buried parts of the Midwest and mid-Atlantic in deep snow before sweeping northward along the coast, closed some coastal roads north and south of Boston. North of Boston, an unoccupied home fell into the ocean, according to the Newburyport Daily News.
The snow made from a slippery commute Friday down to New York and Pennsylvania. Snow and accidents made the morning commute in Connecticut difficult for a second day, thousands of homes and businesses lacked power, and schools across New England remained closed.
Lisa Parisella, of Beverly, Mass., had been ready to dig out her sandals, with spring less than two weeks away. But instead, she found herself donning her winter boots for a trip to the grocery store to make sure she had enough food for her kids, whose classes were canceled.
"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 1 and 8 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 6 inches of snow early Friday.
Some parts of the state had more than a foot of snow 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 2 to 3 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.
In Whitman, Mass., which had gotten nearly a foot of snow by 10 a.m., Maureen Chittick's house was one of those that lost electricity for a while. Her grandchildren Nicole Clark, 15, and Gary Clark, 13, came inside for an old-fashioned game with marbles after shoveling the snow out of her driveway.
"I was shoveling and I saw purple flowers underneath," Nicole Clark said. "I thought to myself, 'Summer is never going to come.' I just want summer. Bring on the hot, the beach!"
On Cape Cod, where the storm was expected to be mostly rain, officials worried 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 6 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.
In New Jersey, a coastal flood advisory finally expired after waves during high tide inundated coastal roads in areas hard-hit by Sandy in late October.
The long-lasting storm killed three people in Virginia, 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.