Vineyard children went back to school on plowed streets Thursday and the Island got back to its routines following a mid-week storm that interrupted commerce and transportation and had the Island battening down its hatches.
The overnight coastal blizzard swept up the East Coast Tuesday, arriving on the Vineyard overnight. The storm brought about six inches of drifting snow and heavy winds on the Island that continued into early Wednesday afternoon.
The Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard in Vineyard Haven reported a wind gust of 57 miles per hour.
Ferry and air service were cancelled from late Tuesday until the afternoon on Wednesday.
The storm was caused by a low pressure system that combined with arctic air and began creating blizzard conditions and rapid accumulations of snow from the mid-Atlantic states through New York and New England beginning Tuesday. It was primarily a coastal storm.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the Vineyard late Monday and upgraded the warning to a watch by Tuesday. By evening the storm had arrived in full force, driven on winds from the north and followed by a frigid air system. And while the storm brought strong winds and freezing temperatures, total snow accumulation fell short of the forecasted eight to 14 inches.
Ferry service returned in halting fashion as the storm lingered. Steamship Authority general manager Wayne Lamson said the ferry Martha’s Vineyard resumed service with the 10:45 a.m. trip from Vineyard Haven Wednesday, and the Island Home began running again with the 1:15 p.m. trip from Woods Hole.
Schools and most government offices and libraries on the Vineyard were closed Wednesday, as was Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the Edgartown courthouse, and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, among others.
Oak Bluffs closed part of East Chop Drive between Munroe avenue and Brewster avenue from 4 p.m. Tuesday until 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Tisbury and Chilmark cancelled selectmen meetings scheduled for Tuesday night and, with the town hall closed, West Tisbury cancelled its selectmen’s meeting on Wednesday.
During the storm the Chappaquiddick Ferry was operating emergency service only due to winds that exceeded 30 miles per hour, but late Wednesday morning began running on a normal schedule.
Runways at Martha’s Vineyard Airport were open Wednesday morning, though Cape Air cancelled several flights from the Vineyard.
Highway crews and private plowing contractors worked through the night to clear roads. Because the air was so cold, the snow was light, and the primary problems were caused by drifting due to winds.
Vineyard Transit Authority bus service was suspended for most of Wednesday morning, and Peter Pan Bus lines cancelled service between Woods Hole and Boston and Providence and Cape Cod on Wednesday.
The storm was followed by a blast of arctic air, with temperatures in the teens and 20s and wind chill factors in the single digits.
The temperature fell to six degrees Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service cooperative station in Edgartown.
Regardless of the temperatures, when the snow stopped Wednesday, the Island dug out and people of all ages flocked to their favorite sledding hills. Farm Neck was one hot spot, as people (and one brave dog) jumped on sleds with a view of Sengekontacket Pond.
On Thursday the sun was shining and the Island wore a sparkling blanket of white from one end to the other.