The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 11, 2013

Northeast commuters hit roads after digging out

NATICK, Mass. — As electricity returns and highways reopen, some Northeast residents tried to get back to their weekday routines Monday following the massive snowstorm that had millions digging out from New York to Maine.

But the routine for other New Englanders was disrupted by school and workplace closings, and poor road conditions. For some there's also a new worry: the danger of roof collapses as rain and warmer weather melts snow.

The storm that slammed into the region with up to 3 feet of snow was blamed for at least 15 deaths in the Northeast and Canada, and brought some of the highest accumulations ever recorded. Still, coastal areas were largely spared catastrophic damage despite being lashed by strong waves and hurricane-force wind gusts at the height of the storm.

And while most major highways were clear on Monday, many secondary roads still had a thick coating of snow, and high snow banks that blocked sight lines at intersections and near highway ramps, making turning and merging hazardous.

"It was definitely a struggle to get here," said Dana Osterling, 24, who lives in Leverett in western Massachusetts but commutes to Boston twice a week to attend Berklee College of Music.

"I live on a dirt road so the plows don't visit us very often," she said at a service plaza in Natick on the Massachusetts Turnpike. She and her six housemates shoveled for about three hours straight to free their cars Sunday.

Around the region, parking spots were filled with snow and many two lane roads were down to one.

Fernando Colon, 48, of South Windsor, Conn., was driving to work Monday morning in heavy sleet on a two-lane highway that was down to one lane because of high snow banks.

"This is awful," he said as he stopped to pump gas during his trek.

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