After deadly snowstorm, fears continue with rain
As the region continues to dig out from a historic snowstorm, a new concern was expected Monday that had officials warning residents and businesses.
The National Weather Service forecasted that up to a half-inch of rain would fall by Monday evening in Boston, dampening spirits and adding to what was expected to be an already difficult commute.
State officials worried that some buildings, already covered in dozens of inches of snow, may buckle under the additional weight of the rain.
“If not cleared off, dry, fluffy snow piled on roofs can act as a sponge, absorbing any additional sleet and rain, adding weight and stress to structures.” Said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Kurt Schwartz. “Flat, commercial roofs are most susceptible if they are not draining properly.”
Local and state officials urged people to clear off their roofs as best as possible and to clear storm drains near their homes and businesses to prevent flooding.
Mayor Thomas Menino said Sunday that he had no reports of damage to buildings so far, but urged people to clear the snow off of their flat roofs to avoid problems.
Also remaining a concern was the width of the roadways and some impassible sidewalks, which prompted Menino to cancel school for Monday. Somerville and Cambridge schools were also called off for Monday.
Menino urged people coming in to the city Monday for work to use public transportation and to stay off the roads while public works crews continued to push snow around. He also said he’d “appreciate it” if there are people who could work from home to clear traffic congestion.
“The roadways are very narrow right now and we got to widen them up a little bit more,” Menino said.
Roadways including Brookline Avenue and Storrow Drive were open with fewer lanes because of snow that was not fully removed from the streets. Some sidewalks were impassible because they were untouched by shovels or plows, which forced people to walk in the streets.
City officials were aware of that and urged people to use caution.
“If you’re walking in the street just be very, very careful. We don’t want to see a lot of pedestrian accidents,” said police Commissioner Ed Davis.
Storm turns deadly
A teen and an adult man were killed over the weekend and their deaths were considered storm-related.
Both of the victims were inside cars seeking warmth when they succumbed to deadly fumes because the exhaust pipes on both vehicles were not cleared.
The first incident occurred in Roxbury just before noon Saturday when responding officers found a 14-year-old boy in cardiac arrest. The second incident occurred at about four hours later when emergency crews found a man in his early 20s dead inside a car. The fire department said the man had been sitting in a running parked car since 11 a.m. and had to break a window open to get to him.
Also on Saturday evening officers responded to East Boston and rescued two children, ages 5 and 8, from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning while inside a car. Those children are expected to survive, police said.
Parking bans remain
Most parking bans started Friday ahead of the storm and they were expected to remain in effect at least through Monday.
Somerville said its snow emergency and parking ban would end at 6 p.m. Monday and that cars that were camped out in municipal lots had to be moved by 8 p.m.
Menino offered no time frame for when Boston’s parking ban would be up and said he would have to consult his public work’s chief. There was no time frame as of press time.
Cambridge said its parking ban would be lifted at 7 a.m. Monday.
By the numbers
The weekend storm buried Boston in 24.9 inches of snow, putting it at No. 5 on the list of top snowstorms for the city, according to the National Weather Service.
There were still more than 225,000 homes and businesses without power as of 4 p.m. Sunday. Some towns on the South Shore were not expected to have power back until midnight Tuesday.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.