Tuesday Reads: The Big Dig, Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon 2015

Scene along the Charles River in Cambridge

Scene along the Charles River in Cambridge

Good Morning!!

This morning I have reached the point where I can’t think of anything else but dealing with snow. I hope you’ll forgive me for being too self-involved to focus on much more than surviving the terrible onslaught we’re going through here in Greater Boston. I’m going to share some photos and news about the mess we’re in here before I get to anything else.

The photo above was taken by my sister-in-law. Here are a couple more of her lovely photos of Cambridge.

Another view of the Charles River

Another view of the Charles River

One of Cambridge's narrow streets

One of Cambridge’s narrow streets

Some Snowy News:

The Christian Science Monitor, The Big Dig: New England struggles with record snow – and more coming.

Snow-choked New England braced for more winter grief later in the week as people dug out from another 2 feet of snow Tuesday. Thousands of angry Boston commuters stranded by a transit shutdown scrambled to find other ways to get to work.

As people struggled to find places to put the latest snow, and officials considered dumping it by the truckload into the ocean, forecasters warned that yet more snow was possible Thursday and again over the weekend.

That’s right, folks. Even after we’ve set multiple records for snowfall over the past couple of weeks, we are expecting more storms. Some of the effects on the region so far:

Boston-area subways, trolleys and commuter rail trains ground to a halt at 7 p.m. Monday and remained idle Tuesday, with only limited bus service continuing. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it needed the break to clear snow and ice from tracks and to assess equipment damaged by the spate of storms….

Boston hospitals set up sleeping areas for workers and police were offering rides to work for doctors and nurses.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at New England airports. Officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport said they hoped normal passenger service would resume by midday Tuesday.

Massachusetts environmental officials gave cities and towns with no place else to put accumulating snow the green light to dump some into the ocean or other bodies of water if necessary.

The Department of Environmental Protection on Monday cited the challenges involved in getting rid of the historic snowfalls. Local communities may seek permission to take emergency steps that allow disposal of snow into open water, which is normally prohibited. Officials also were using giant melters to liquefy snow.

Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Feb. 9, 2015

Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Feb. 9, 2015

Here’s why the T had to shut down. From The Boston Globe: Passengers stuck on Red Line train for more than two hours.

More than 40 passengers were safely evacuated from a southbound Red Line train that became stranded for more than two hours between stations in Quincy due to a power failure, MBTA officials said.

Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the train lost power around 7 a.m. Monday, and the final passengers were escorted out of the cars around 9 a.m….

“The tracks are completely exposed to the storm conditions,” said Pesaturo. “The third rail was completely covered by heavy snow. The train could not move because of a lack of power.”

Pesaturo said the 48 passengers were safely taken off the train and transferred to a bus.

The next storm is due soon. From The Globe: Up to 6 more inches of snow on the way.

The National Weather Service is predicting the snowfall for a 24-hour period from 7 a.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday.

A map generated by the National Weather Service at 4:46 a.m. Tuesday shows higher accumulation in Eastern Mass., and predicts 2 to 3 inches for most of the area outside of I-495.

Kenmore Square and the famous CITGO sign.

Kenmore Square and the famous CITGO sign.

For some strange reason, there is a small area of Greater Boston that is taking the brunt of these storms. That’s the area I live in.

Thursday’s expected snowfall comes amid a record period for the Boston area, in which about 6 feet has fallen over a 30-day period, beating the previous record of 58.5 inches, which was set in 1978.

The National Weather Service said 76.5 inches have fallen in Boston this winter season through 7 p.m. Monday.

But that won’t be the end of it, according to The Weather Channel. There’s another storm expected on Valentine’s Day weekend. 

It is still too soon (4+ days out) to determine whether the offshore low will track close enough to bring heavy snow to parts of New England and the Northeast. If a closer low track (heavier snow) would take place, peak impacts would occur Saturday night into Sunday with the heaviest snow in coastal New England.

Regardless where the low tracks, behind the arctic front and intensifying offshore low — you guessed it — bitterly cold air will settle in, driven by strong winds, leading to dangerous wind chills and areas of blowing/drifting snow. Temperatures may remain stuck in the single digits or, at best, teens much of Sunday in New England, with morning lows in the single digits above or below zero.

Boston's Financial district

Boston’s Financial district

Honestly, I was doing pretty well until yesterday, when I discovered that I couldn’t open my front door. It was frozen shut. I went out through the garage and, with the help of a neighbor, got the door to open. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t close all the way and I couldn’t lock it anymore. Stupidly, I locked the storm door.

This morning, the front door is again frozen shut and I won’t be able to open it from the outside because of my stupid decision to lock the storm door. I’ll have to try to get the door open with a hairdryer or go in and out through the garage. Don’t even ask about the back door. That would require digging a long pathway through at least four feet of snow.

I guess I need to call a waaaambulance. If I sound discouraged, I’m not alone. From the Globe: Unrelenting snowfall darkening our moods.

From commuting odysseys to back-wrenching shoveling and days without a drop of sunshine, this winter’s unrelenting snow is wrecking the region’s collective psyche.

Precious free time for trips to the gym, often a psychological balm, has largely vanished. Ditto for meeting friends or gathering with family.

For many, a single-minded focus on navigating the avalanche of storms can weigh heavily, therapists said Monday.

“It is assaulting people,” said Barbara Green, a psychologist at the Center for Integrative Counseling and Wellness in Hingham. “Even strong, resilient, upbeat people are starting to feel a bit frayed emotionally.”

Green said she is hearing from patients that normal daily stresses — commuting, working, taking care of a family — seem magnified many times over, especially for people with low-paying jobs who do not have the luxury of missing a day at work.

“People’s normal coping skills and strategies erode,” Green said. “Instead of eating a healthy diet, they eat cookies, maybe even drinking more.”

Well, I don’t have those problems anyway, because I don’t drink and I don’t have any cookies or other sweets lying around. I’m also luckier than most people, because I don’t have to get out to work. I’m just having to give myself pep talks and call friends and family for support and to feel less isolated.

Boston Common, Feb. 9, 2015

Boston Common, Feb. 9, 2015


Other News

CBS 6 Charlottesville, VA, Sources: Jesse Matthew charged with first-degree murder of Hannah Graham

An 11 a.m. press conference in Charlottesville on Tuesday will reveal that Jesse Matthew Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder in the death ofHannah Graham according to CBS 6 sources….

Matthew, 32, is currently charged with the abduction with intent to defile, in Graham’s disappearance. She was in her second-year at the University of Virginia.

Graham was last seen leaving a Charlottesville bar with Matthew, on Sept. 13. Her remains were found on an abandoned property in Albemarle County on Oct. 18.

Graham’s body was discovered roughly five miles from where Morgan Harrington’s body was found in Albemarle County in January 2010. In November 2014, police forensically linked Harrington to Matthew when his DNA was found on the black “Pantera” shirt she wore the night of her disappearance.

The 20-year-old Harrington, who was a Virginia Tech student, disappeared outside of the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville while attending a Metallica concert on Oct. 17, 2009.

Matthew is currently incarcerated in Fairfax County, where he is facing attempted capital murder, rape, and sexual assault charges relating to the attack and rape of a Fairfax woman in 2005. DNA has also linked him to this case.  He will remain behind bars in Fairfax until his trial on March 9.

City worker tries to clear a sidewalk in downtown Boston

City worker tries to clear a sidewalk in downtown Boston

Remember Dominique Strauss Kahn?

USA Today, Strauss-Kahn: I didn’t know those women were prostitutes.

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn denied allegations Tuesday that he knowingly helped organize orgies with sex workers.

Strauss-Kahn, 65, was testifying at a court in northern France for his alleged connection with a prostitution ring at a hotel in Lille.

“I committed no crime,” Strauss-Kahn, once thought to be a contender for the French presidency, said in a letter read to the court as he took the stand.

Strauss-Kahn said he was not aware the women in question, whom he admits participated in orgies at luxury hotels in Paris and Washington, were prostitutes. He said he ignored their “prostitutional character” and that he himself had only taken part occasionally and that there had been no “wild activity.”

Strauss-Kahn and 13 others are accused of aggravated pimping based on hundreds of pages of testimony provided to investigators by prostitutes describing the orgies.

Man shoveling in Dorchester neighborhood, Feb. 9, 2015

Man shoveling in Dorchester neighborhood, Feb. 9, 2015

The Guardian, US prosecutors weigh criminal charges against HSBC as Warren turns up the heat.

The US Department of Justice is considering bringing criminal charges against HSBC and its executives as part of its investigation into whether the bank’s Swiss subsidiary helped US clients evade taxes.

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren called on prosecutors to “come down hard” on HSBC if the bank is found to have colluded with tax evaders on Tuesday.

Her intervention came as US government officials with knowledge of the DoJ’s investigation provided the Guardian with new details about the inquiry.

Renewed focus has been placed on the long-running investigation into HSBC Switzerland by the department, after a huge leak of secret bank data – passed to the DOJ’s tax division almost five years ago – was obtained by the Guardian and other media.

It shows that HSBC Switzerland helped some clients conceal millions of undeclared assets, and has immediately raised questions on Capitol Hill about the response from prosecutors and tax authorities.

BOSTON - FEBRUARY 8: Crews use an Aero Snow Melter to dispatch mounds of snow at the Marine Industrial Park snow farm on February 8, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

BOSTON – FEBRUARY 8: Crews use an Aero Snow Melter to dispatch mounds of snow at the Marine Industrial Park snow farm on February 8, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

More Headlines

CNN, American ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller dead, family says.

ABC News, A Look Back at UVA Student Hannah Graham’s Disappearance.

WaPo, Was Brian Williams terrorized by gangs at the Ritz-Carlton during Katrina?

The Independent UK, Charles Manson wedding off after it emerges that fiancee Afton Elaine Burton ‘just wanted his corpse for display’.

NY Daily News, Drew Peterson charged with trying to kill Illinois lead prosecutor while behind bars.

NY Daily News, Baby born carrying twin fetuses (Please don’t tell the anti-abortion crowd about this one, or that poor little baby could be in big trouble).

HuffPo, New Jeb Bush Hire Called Women ‘Sluts’ On Twitter.

Reuters, Mumps outbreak linked to Idaho university spreads to Washington state.

ABC News, Stay Away From ‘Measles Parties’ Docs Warn Parents.

The stories I found are somewhat lurid today. I don’t know if that’s because of my mood or a real reflection of what’s happening. Please post your recommended reads in the comment thread, and have a terrific Tuesday!


26 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: The Big Dig, Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon 2015”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Amazing photo from Twitter. It looks like a shot from the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

    • NW Luna says:

      Professor Cliff Mass discusses why the West Coast is warmer than usual, and the East Coast the reverse.

      …lets take a look at the National Weather Service’s Climate Forecast System predictions for the next three months for surface air temperature (actually the difference from normal–the anomalies). Amazing. A HUGE WARM ANOMALY over our region [Pacific NW & W Coast]. And these anomalies are very statistically significant. My confidence in this forecast is strengthened by the fact that is probably the result of a relatively slowly changing atmospheric circulation variation that is connected with slowly varying sea surface temperatures in the Pacific (more on that in a future blog). Note that eastern U.S. is colder than normal. This is not some kind of global warming where everyone experiences higher temperatures.


      • bostonboomer says:

        He didn’t say anything about why the Northeast is so cold. I’ve lived here for nearly 50 years, and I can’t recall a winter with so many days in the teens and single numbers. Normally it’s pretty mild here–mostly 20s and 30s and lots of days when it gets warmer.

        • NW Luna says:

          Oh, you’re right — he didn’t explain, just said it’s colder in the NE…. On a later post he talks about “troughing” in the NE and promises more detail in a future post.

    • NW Luna says:

      BB I hope you are everyone else in the snow stay warm and safe.

    • Has anyone heard from Pat? I wonder how she is doing in all this. Those pictures of Cambridge are beautiful
      Be careful with this next storm, have you been able to get stocked up on groceries?

      • bostonboomer says:

        I heard from her briefly about a week ago. I’m not sure what is going on, but she said she would get back to me later on.

        I got stocked up last Friday, but I probably won’t be able to get out again before next week. I’m certainly not going to run out of food, but I might run out of toilet paper, milk, and other staples.

    • Riverbird says:

      I’m so sorry about all this snow, bostonboomer.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks. It makes me feel better just to connect with you all and be able to whine a little bit.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    This is horrible.

    From The Guardian, FBI monitored and critiqued African American writers for decades.

    A new book reveals the extent to which J Edgar Hoover’s bureau kept files on well-known black writers between 1919 and 1972.

    Newly declassified documents from the FBI reveal how the US federal agency under J Edgar Hoover monitored the activities of dozens of prominent African American writers for decades, devoting thousands of pages to detailing their activities and critiquing their work.

    Academic William Maxwell first stumbled upon the extent of the surveillance when he submitted a freedom of information request for the FBI file of Claude McKay. The Jamaican-born writer was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, author of the sonnet If We Must Die, supposedly recited by Winston Churchill, and Maxwell was preparing an edition of his complete poems. When the file came through from the FBI, it stretched to 193 pages and, said Maxwell, revealed “that the bureau had closely read and aggressively chased McKay” – describing him as a “notorious negro revolutionary” – “all across the Atlantic world, and into Moscow”.

    Maxwell, associate professor of English and African American studies at Washington University in St Louis, decided to investigate further, knowing that other scholars had already found files on well-known black writers such as Langston Hughes and James Baldwin. He made 106 freedom of information requests about what he describes as “noteworthy Afro-modernists” to the FBI; 51 of those writers had files, ranging from three to 1,884 pages each.

    “I suspected there would be more than a few,” said Maxwell. “I knew Hoover was especially impressed and worried by the busy crossroads of black protest, leftwing politics, and literary potential. But I was surprised to learn that the FBI had read, monitored, and ‘filed’ nearly half of the nationally prominent African American authors working from 1919 (Hoover’s first year at the Bureau, and the first year of the Harlem Renaissance) to 1972 (the year of Hoover’s death and the peak of the nationalist Black Arts movement). In this, I realised, the FBI had outdone most every other major institution of US literary study, only fitfully concerned with black writing.”

  3. Fannie says:

    Wow, thanks for the photos, it must seem like a long, long, damn winter. I love the snow, but after awhile, it’s hard to keep seeing it come down, and piling up.

    Even though powdered milk is a little expensive, I always buy a box for winter, just in case I don’t have milk, and need to cook with it. Then I use some for making hot chocolate. Do you have a small generator BB?

    Reading guardian on Hoover, and thinking of Ebony Magazine which was included. But where was Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Angela Davis? How’d they get left out?

    • bostonboomer says:

      Maybe I should get some powdered milk next time I get out of the house. I mostly just use milk for coffee and tea though, and powdered milk really doesn’t work for for that. I don’t know if they make it with fat in it. I’ve only seen fat free.

      I don’t have a generator, but so far I haven’t lost power. I usually don’t even in bad storms.

      • Fannie says:

        We have a medium household generator, 2 kilowatts. A full tank is good for 8 hours, and allows for tv, computer, coffee maker, couple lamps and heater to run. I was miles, and miles from town, and had to be prepared for days. I loved the snow, but digging out, and day after day, I began to suffer depression, and cabin fever.

        You remember “Tang”……….get a container, the astronauts used it. Like powdered milk, it’s good to have on hand for long periods of time. Just in case you need it. I can’t wait for spring.

  4. List of X says:

    BB, my offer still stands.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks so much. I really appreciate that. Lately I’ve been keeping up with it pretty well. They have reduced the amount of snow expected on Thurs. to 1-3 inches, so that’s good.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    BB…..I’m sending good thoughts your way and hoping that the end is in sight. I can’t even imagine being in your situation. And thinking about the thaw that will come after so much snow makes me wonder what the ramifications of that will be. Surely some flooding and damage to roads, bridges and highways is in the near future. In the meantime keep your chin up and remember, Spring is near. Peace!!!!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. It’s hard to know what will happen. Right now we’re in a very cold period. If we get some relief from the snowfall, towns will be able to haul some of it away.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    Since all hell broke lose in Alabama yesterday, I thought you and the rest of the Sky Dancers might enjoy some on the scene reporting about what has happened to Alabama since TEH GAY began to get married. Change is gonna happen!!!

  7. dakinikat says:

    Been a busy day for me so I’m just catching up on my reading! Wow! I was raised in Iowa and Nebraska and I have NEVER seen snow like that before!

    Here’s a depressing defense from Strauss the rapist …


    In sum, the charge is that Strauss-Kahn participated in “pimping” by helping pay for sex workers that serviced the multiple orgies that Strauss-Kahn likes to enjoy. Strauss-Kahn can’t deny that he was fond of orgies—I guess the evidence is just overwhelming against him—so instead his defense is that he didn’t know the women at them were sex workers. Chew on that, slowly and carefully, everyone. What Strauss-Kahn wants you to believe is that he is such a sexual dynamo, such a hot piece of ass, that sexy young women are lining up to have sex with him, for free, in public places while his creepy ass friends watch.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Jeb Bush dumps emails including social security numbers of Florida residents online

    Names, addresses and telephone numbers were unredacted, and sensitive communications labeled as such are included in the release.