Photographers' Blog

Digging out from Boston’s blizzard

February 11, 2013

Boston, Massachusetts

By Brian Snyder

It might not be news that it snows in New England in winter. But the recent snow storm (there seems to be some debate as to whether it met the criteria to be called a blizzard) certainly brought a lot of snow to Boston. Enough so that Governor Patrick banned all driving for the duration of the storm (with exceptions, including for the news media). That’s one way to say that this storm exceeded what’s considered “normal” around here.

I went out around noon on Friday as the snow was just beginning to fall in Boston. The magnitude of the storm had been forecasted for days. With the threat of potentially record-breaking snow fall amounts, the subway system was scheduled to shut down at 3:30pm and a statewide driving ban was announced for 4pm. The wind was already strong — the snow blown sideways stung your face. People seemed intent on just getting home. Pretty early on I made this image:

which proved to be what many newspapers used the next day to lead their coverage of the storm.

The subway did shut down:

And by evening the city was very empty of cars and people:

It snowed all night, and after digging out my own car early Saturday morning, I went back out. Plows could not keep up with the rate of the snow fall, nor the amount of snow being blown around. All of the roads had snow on them and driving was slow.

But it also seemed the mood had shifted. No longer worried about getting home without being stranded (and with no cars allowed to park on the main roads and the driving ban still in effect), the streets of the Back Bay and Beacon Hill were full of people. Some were already digging out businesses, sidewalks and cars, but most just seemed curious about what had happened overnight.

By the end of the day the sun came out.

Sunday was a reality check, as people had to excavate their cars and businesses in hopes of returning to work on Monday.

Although a snow ball fight between Harvard and MIT students showed it was still ok to have some fun too.

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