Well, it looks like the world’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has a strike against him this year. Only a week after the famous burrow-dweller failed to see his shadow, promising an early spring, the east coast was clobbered by winter storm Nemo.
The massive snowfall Saturday left thousands without electricity. Even Tuesday morning, the Patriot Ledger reported, 40,000 homes in southeastern Massachusetts remain in the dark. Half of the houses and businesses in Scituate and two thirds of those in Plympton were still without power, along with many in Duxbury, Marshfield, Rochester, Plymouth and Kingston.
The newspaper profiled families coping with a loss of both heat and electricity that has gone on for three days, with some firing up wood stoves or generators and others wearing gloves and winter hats to bed. Local cities and towns have also set up emergency shelters. More than 100 people stayed at Scituate High School, and 80 people plus 10 pets were holed up at Furnace Brook Middle School in Marshfield.
In some cases, power outages can be seriously dangerous. For older people or those living with disabilities, particularly if they don’t have family living nearby or a home health care worker to assist them, storms can be devastating. Aside from losing heat as temperatures dip well below freezing, icy walkways and driveways blocked by snow can be particularly dangerous for people with limited mobility. Fortunately, many folks pitch in by checking on their neighbors, and some Good Samaritans who have their own snow blower are happy to plow an extra driveway.
What are things looking like in your neighborhood these days? Are you still without power? Have you stopped by to help out, or gotten help from others? Are the teenagers you know following the old New England tradition of offering to shovel steps and walkways for a few bucks?
Stay safe out there, everyone!