The Vineyard spent Wednesday digging out from the winter gale that battered the Island all day Tuesday. Schools remained closed on Thursday as highway workers and private contractors planned to spend another day clearing snow from roadways.

Most government offices were planning to be open and ferries are running normal schedules again. The Vineyard Transit Authority is running service on major routes.

Activity resumes in Oak Bluffs Wednesday morning. — Timothy Johnson

The storm dumped a foot and a half of snow and pounded the coastline with hurricane-force winds, shuttering the Island from late Monday through early Wednesday.

“It’s been a challenge,” Oak Bluffs highway superintendent Richie Combra told the Gazette Tuesday morning.

The howling blizzard arrived in full force overnight overnight Monday with heavy snow and high winds gusting to hurricane force.

Phil Hale, owner of the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard, reported wind gusts to 77 mph at the shipyard with sustained winds of 50 mph.

Marshall Carroll at Menemsha Texaco reported a wind gust of 64.5 mph early Tuesday morning.

Total snowfall at the National Weather Service station in Edgartown was recorded at 20 inches but there were unofficial reports of higher amounts in many other places. Drifts of up to three feet were widespread and many remote areas of the Island were still inaccessible on Wednesday.

Sunrise over Eastville; storm is over. — Dan Martino

Power stayed on in most areas with scattered outages reported in Edgartown, according to an NStar online outage map.

Nantucket did not fare as well and was cut off for the entire day Tuesday with no power, internet or cell phone service according to news reports.

Early Tuesday morning Dock street in Edgartown was underwater from high tides and great drifts were piled against storefronts. The Dock Street Coffee Shop was open.

A state of emergency was declared statewide. An emergency shelter operated by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army opened at the Tisbury School Monday evening. The shelter will remain open until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Shelter manager Ann Marie Cywinski said the shelter had two overnight guests Monday night, and others have stopped in for snacks, including eight electrical works who are on the Island to fix fallen power lines.

The two people staying at the shelter had nowhere else to go, Ms. Cywinski said. “They still don’t have any place to go when the shelter closes,” she said.

The shelter was also staffed by a nurse, a representative from the Department of Mental Health, and staff from the Red Cross, the Medical Reserve Corps and the Martha's Vineyard Disaster Animal Rescue Team.

Forecasters began predicting the storm on Sunday and said it could be potentially historic. By midday Monday a 250-mile stretch from New Jersey to Maine was under a blizzard watch.

Total snowfall was expected to be a foot or more on the Cape and the Vineyard, and much higher inland. Hurricane-strength wind gusts were also predicted for the coastal region.

All Vineyard public schools, government offices, the Edgartown courthouse and virtually all community centers, including Martha's Vineyard Community Services, the Boys' and Girls' Club and YMCA, were closed Tuesday.

Plows all in a row on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. — Timothy Johnson

East Chop Drive was closed Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, the storm continued to bear down on the exposed community of Oak Bluffs.

 The town deployed 15 snow removal vehicles Monday night, but by Tuesday, they had increased that number to 20, including eight private contractors.

Mr. Combra the highway superintendent said snow drifts were the biggest obstacle to keeping the major roads clear for passage.

“Our main goal during right now is just to keep all the main roads open so that emergency vehicles can get around,” he said early Tuesday. A front-end loader was assigned to escort the ambulance.

Despite poor visibility, especially near the shore, a few too many cars were out traveling the town’s roadways, Mr. Combra said.

“Sometimes people are out doing a little sightseeing, in general I think they should stay home,” he said.

Late Tuesday morning up-Island public safety officials reported only minor disturbances, and were waiting out the rest of the storm.

Aquinnah police chief Randhi Belain reported near white-out conditions but no major problems.

He noted that a portion of Lobsterville in Aquinnah was especially vulnerable becuase of damage from Hurricane Sandy, but he checked first thing this morning and the area was still intact. "That was the one place I was concerned about but it looks like it fared pretty well," he said.

Marshall Carroll, owner of Menemsha Texaco, reported "snowing, blowing, drifting."  The gas station was busy before the storm.

Mr. Carroll said there was no apparent evidence of erosion or wave damage in the harbor area.

Chilmark fire chief David Norton said things this morning were "status quo. Everyone is staying home, roads are being plowed."

The Vineyard Transit Authority suspended service on Tuesday, and Peter Pan Bus Lines also cancelled all Tuesday service.

A hardy soul crosses Five Corners in Vineyard Haven Tuesday morning. — Timothy Johnson

At the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, no flights were operating and plans were in place for large-scale snow removal.

Edgartown harbor master Charlie Blair said scallop boats were swamped and filled with ice and snow.

Emergency managers in Edgartown reminded all Island residents to clear snow from their heating vents and the tailpipes of their cars.

Photos of the January storm.

Olivia Hull, Alex Elvin, Mark Lovewell, Tom Dunlop and Ivy Ashe contributed reporting.