Boston’s brutal winter officially became its snowiest on Sunday.
The beleaguered city had received a seasonal total of 108.6 inches by evening, the National Weather Service said, breaking Boston’s old record of 107.6 inches set during the winter of 1995-96.
Sunday’s 2.9 inches didn’t stop Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, although according to local media, the buildup of snow on side streets did cause parade organizers to shorten the route. In the lighthearted spirit of parade day, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that a yeti character would serve as interim mayor. Incidentally, the parade itself made history too: After decades of exclusion, gay groups marched in it this year.
This record-breaking winter came as a shock for Michael Moreno, 21, who moved to Boston from Dallas in June.
At the house he rents, the season’s first big snowstorm posed a problem. “I had to shovel it all by hand and it took me eight hours straight,” said Moreno, who works at the front desk of the Copley Square Hotel. But things are better now: A neighbor felt sorry for him and offered to lend him a snowblower.
Moreno described experiencing winter as a revelation.
“When the blizzards hit, it’s like a whiteout,” he said. “You’re pretty much just hibernating until it’s over, and when you can see out — you can see everything — you’re kind of just in awe. If you’re not used it, it can leave you breathless.”
Boston is far from the snowiest spot in the U.S. Copenhagen, N.Y., appears to have that distinction, with more than 20 feet since mid-November.
But this winter made an impression even on lifelong Bostonians.
“You know, it was crazy,” said Joseph Thomas, 55. “Every other day, every other weekend, it was blizzards. You couldn’t walk. Cabs wouldn’t stop. The MBTA [transit system] was shut down.”
Thomas said Eddie C’s bar, where he works as a bartender, managed to open daily, but customers didn’t always show up. “For the month of February, it was dead.”
How would he like next winter to be? “Not like this.”
And this winter isn’t over yet. Friday’s forecast includes a chance of snow.
With such intense snowfall this year, the city often hasn’t been able to just plow streets and call it a day. Workers must also remove the excess snow, liquefying it with snow-melting machines or dumping truckload after truckload into lots called snow farms.
In a video posted by the city last month, a worker identified only as Kevin stands in one such snow farm, near a white mound that dwarfs the industrial vehicles adding to it.
“Three days ago there was nothing here,” he explains. “Now we’re at 25,000 cubic yards that we trucked in here two nights ago. And we’re continuing the operation daily, basically 16 to 18 hours a day, sometimes 24.”
It has been a season of extremes across the nation.
Even as Boston broke its snow record, Southern California experienced unseasonably hot weather.
On Sunday, downtown Los Angeles reached 90 degrees, a record high for the date. The heat wave caused organizers of the Los Angeles Marathon to move the starting time up 30 minutes.
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