Boston weathers ‘historic’ snowstorm, as strong winds batter campus

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Photo: Ian Roper

Boylston Street was blanketed in snow on Saturday.

By Camilo Fonseca and Frankie Rowley

New England is experiencing a winter storm of a magnitude not seen in years, dropping nearly two feet of snow on downtown Boston and enveloping Emerson’s campus in near-whiteout conditions.

Since the nor’easter first hit on Friday evening, the Boston area has seen 21 inches of snowfall, according to a 5:59 p.m. report from the National Weather Service on Saturday. Meteorologists are counting it as one of the worst blizzards the region has ever faced, prompting Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to declare a “snow emergency” for the city.

“This has the potential to be a historic storm—a huge one,” said Wu in a Friday press conference.

This weekend’s storm threatens to eclipse the record set by the President’s Day blizzard of 2003, which saw 27.6 inches of snow cover the city over two days. It has also drawn comparisons to the infamous Blizzard of 1978, which dumped 27.1 inches of snow on the region and caused the deaths of 73 people in Massachusetts. 

In addition to the heavy snowfall, the NWS also warned of rough surf—which caused flooding along Boston’s Seaport area—and strong winds. Winds registered at 54 mph in Medford and 65 mph in Scituate, reaching hurricane force on Cape Cod and Nantucket. Meteorologists have described the storm as a rare “bomb cyclone,” given its rapid intensification over the weekend.

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In light of the extreme conditions, Emerson opted to cancel all classes, academic events, and admission tours scheduled for Saturday. The fitness center closed its doors, though the dining center and Max Grill remained open for normal Saturday hours.

The snowfall is expected to last well into the night—ending at around 11 p.m., according to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.