A second wave of federal troops and equipment was ordered into blizzard-ravaged New England yesterday, but authorities said it might be several days before snow-clogged streets and highways are back to normal.
Although sun shone on eastern Massachusetts for the second day in a row and highway crews made some progress in clearing up to 40 inches of snow that fell Monday and Tuesday, Gov. Micheal Dukakis prolonged a state of emergency banning all but essential traffic from roads across the eastern half of the state.
Two runways at Boston's Logan International Airport were being kept open for airlifting emergency medical supplies and equipment, and convoys carring food and military personnel poured in and out of the city.
"It looks like a wartime operation," said an official of the Massachusetts Port Authority.
Dukakis said the region can't view the storm as just a nightmare that has passed.
"We still have a very, very long way to go. Many of our secondary roads are still impassable, and many of our neighborhoods are still impassable," the governor said.
Moreover, reports that chickenpox and flue were spreading in some emergency shelters prompted officials to begin worring about epidemics.
At Dukakis' request, a team of experts from the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta was dispatched to examine the public health situation.
It was impossible to assess the cost of the storm, the area's worst since 1889. But just in Scituate, Mass., a South Shore community of 17,000 persons, civil defense officials estimated damage at $100 million. The annual budget of the town is $500,000.
Revere, on the North Shore, also sustained losses of $100 million, and the heavy snow that crippled the New York metropolitan area Monday reportedly resulted in $100 million losses.
In Massachusetts alone, more than 15,000 residents were driven from their homes by the storm's fury.
In Massachusetts alone, more than 15,000 residents were driven from their homes by the storm's fury.
In Rhode Island, Gov. J. Joseph Garrahy invoked emergency powers to keep motorists off the streets so emergency equipment could get through. Garrahy warned against profiteering by businessmen taking advantage of food and medicine scarcities.
The law of supply and demand sent prices of basic commodities skyrocketing. Two eggs at a Providence restaurant were said to cost $4, and a loaf of bread at a Pawtucket store cost $1.50, reported Washington Post special correspondent Thomas Walsh. Newspapers in Providence were being sold by enterprising youths at $1 apiece.
As in great calamities, the Blizzard of '78 produced an anthology of anguish, joy, preposterousness, heroism confronted their own helplessness in the face of the elements.
There were winners and losers, as could be expected in an event of such gigantic dimensions. Literally everyone was made a participant in the drama, there being no escapes because of the clogged highways, idle airports and backed-up trains.
The high school at Scituate resembled a menagarie as rag-tag evacuees, National Guardsmen, police and fire officials and soaking-wet volunteers milled among dogs, cats and caged pet birds which had been rescured from flooded oceanside houses.
Edward Allen, a retired machinist who has lived in Scituate 30 years, viewed the constantly shuffling mass of humanity and beast and observed, "There's been no trouble with the animals. I guess they know we're all in this together.
Allen, who was ordered by National Guard troops to evacuate his house, added, "I've never seen anythibg like this before. I rode out a lot of storms before, but, boy, this is sure the worst."
A pregnant woman who was airlifted to the high school by a radio station's helicopter received a standing ovation from the weary group of evacuees, as did a local chicken farmer who not only brought in all the eggs he could carry but stayed to scramble them.
Washington Post special correspondant Stacy Joan, who toured the beach area with disaster authorities, described a scene of almost total devastation.
The walls and roofs of many homes had crumbled like paper under 15-foot waves and 100 mile-an-hour winds, and furniture and appliances were scattered hundreds of feet from their locations.
National Guardsmen patrolled the beach to prevent looting.
A premilinary survey by the Red Cross showed 100 homes destroyed, 2,000 severely damaged, 200 stores put out of business by damage, and at least 17 boats lost. At least five houses burned to the ground because firemen were unable to drive through drifting snow.
George Bosworth, a retired construction worker, told Jolna the power went out in his seaside home Monday night, so he moved his family to a neighbor's. When seawater poured into that house, forcing the occupants to the second floor, Bosworth finally gave up and went to the makeshift high school shelter.
Boston police reported that 125 looting suspects had been arrested during the storm and were being held on a total of $12.5 million bail.Most of the break-ins occurred in the Dorchester, Roxbury, South Boston and Charlestown sections.
In Roxbury, a tractor carrying 4,000 live chickens hit a snowbank and overturned. Police were called to chase away looters, but not before they had carried off hundreds of boxes of chickens.
However, Police Commissioner Joseph Jordan said yesterday that looting had largely diminished because of police presence.
The storm brought together groups of people who have probably never seen each other before and probably don't want to each other again.
In downtown Providence, three buses broke down in front of Allary's a jazz club frequented by the Providence equivalent of hipsters, swingers and beautiful people.
But those on the buses were mostly middle-aged women who work in the Outlet Co., a large downtown department store. And while many of these ladies might take an occasional cocktail, few would ever admit to having done so at Allary's.
While the ladies were nervous at first, it didn't take them long to get into the swing of things. One woman, about 60, tried to sleep on a couch, but the noise from the disco band was too much. When the bartender said he couldn't get the music turned down, she looked at him for a moment and said, "Okay. Give me a Grandad on the rocks."
Inexplicably, twice as many babies were born at one New York hospital during the Monday's fury than is normal for one day.
A spokeswoman for Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center in Queens said that 20 babies were born, and that more than half the new mothers gave birth prematurely.
"We don't know if it's because they are apprehensive about getting to the hospital on time or what," she said.
And at the peak of the storm on Cape Cod, Mary Galaska went into labor and summoned help from the Falmouth Fire Department, where firefighter Robert (Smokey) Williams, a parademic, was just finishing 27 straight hours of duty.
Williams struggled through waist-deep snow to Galaska home. He and a neighbor delivered an 8-pound 5-ounce boy, whose middle name will be the same as the weary fireman's first name.
With more good humor that might be expected under the circumstances, Boston's Copely Plaza Hotel and the Boston Herald American set a relief fund for storm victims and scheduled for today an "Oh, What a Relief It Is" Grand Ball, complete with a 16-piece orchestra and free drinks.
In parts of New England, the end of the high winds and the appearance of the sun led to a carnival atmosphere, as harried residents took to the streets and simply enjoyed the snow and the time off from their jobs.
Downtown Providence was almost deserted, but on the East Side around the campuses of Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design they were skiing or wading through the waist-deep snow.
Liquor stores were doing a brisk business as students pulled up sleds and toboggans and left loaded down with beer.
"We'll be all right as long as the booze holds out," one skier told Washington Post Special Correspondent Cory Dean as he left laden with packages.
The same holiday spirit was common in Boston, but thousands of pedestrians annoyed police and snowplow crews by strolling along the streets, blissfully surveying the damage. Officials said the crowds often were so thick that they hindered cleanup operations.
In Canton, Mass., Claire Young set out on an errand of mercy, driving her widowed neighbor, Marie Jennings, a 59-year-Old cancer patient, to a hospital for her regular chemotherapy treatment.
They left about noon Monday as storm warnings were being issued, and for three days frantic Arthur Young called authorities seeking information about his wife.
The bodies of the two women were found in a snow-covered car a few hundred yards from where they apparently had paused to shop as the storm grew worse. Police said they died of asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Young said his wife had dismissed his occasional warnings about getting stuck in snowstorms. "She said, 'God will be with me' She had great faith."
Dr. Peter Simon, a third-year resident at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence began walking home at about noon Monday. Halfway through his four-mile trek he stopped at the downtown Holiday Inn to warm up and escape the wind.
Yesterday he was still there, treating colds, back ailments and other problems with medicine brought in by volunteers on snowmobiles. He had become the house physician for hundreds of refugees who filled the inn's rooms and overflowed into its lounge and restaurant.
Veteran commuters on the Long Island Rail Road are used to lengthy delays, and they usually regard themselves as immune to any indignity that the trouble-plagued railroad can inflict.But they never recknoned on a day like Tuesday.
The normal two-hour ride on the 1:45 p.m. train from Pennsylvania Station in midtown Manhattan to Huntington, L.I., took more than 10 hours - longer than the Concorde SST needs to fly from Long Island to Paris and back again.
As the night wore on, more than 900 passengers happily consumed the train's entire liquor supply and traded snow stories until a diesel arrived to push the stalled electric train the last three miles.
While some persons endured food shortages, many more found themselves facing cash shortages. In many cases, payroll departments have been closed since Monday, and large employers were unable to process checks in time for deposit this week.
'There is no shortage of cash at the banks," said one bank's president, who suggested that employers cash one large check and give partial cash payments to workers in need of money.
But some banks reported a lack of cash on hand because armored cars could not get through to deliver money.
"The phone lines are ringing off the hook," said an official of Boston Five Cents Savings Bank, which limited withdrawals to $100.
Persons stranded in bars and restaurants in Providence quickly cleaned out stocks of milk, bread and meat. And after a day or two many ran out of money to pay.
"I have hundreds of dollars in tabs in there," Greg Karambalis, the owner of a downtown deli, told a customer who was paying by check for her sandwiches. But he added:
"What am I gonna do? People gotta eat!"