MONTPELIER, Vt. — After days of hyped warnings about a nor'easter churning up the coast, the storm finally showed up — a day late and many miles north of predictions.
And even when it hit hardest, leaving parts of New England under 2 to nearly 4 feet of snow, the storm was still far short of what meteorologists had forecast.
"This isn't enough, I'd like to see more," taxi driver James Hutchins said in Brattleboro, Vt., which got 22 inches of snow.
Elsewhere in the state, however, the Jay Peak ski area on the Canadian border had collected 46 inches by early Wednesday, and South Burlington had 23 inches, its third-heaviest on record. Spots in northern New York, western Massachusetts and New Hampshire got 30 inches and more.
Schools and government offices reopened around the Northeast on Wednesday, and airlines started returning to normal after the tie-ups and confusion caused by cancellation of hundreds of domestic and international flights on Monday and Tuesday.
But even after the storm had left the region, it continued to pile up high water along the coast, and authorities at Hampton, N.H., closed three roads because of flooding around Wednesday morning's high tide.
"It's probably a little worse than yesterday. That's because it's another day closer to the full moon, which is a determining factor in the high tide situation," Hampton police dispatcher Fred Ruonala said Wednesday. The moon will be full Friday.
On Tuesday, the surf pitched a seal onto a coastal highway in Rye, N.H. David Taylor and his two sons wrapped the animal in a blanket and carried it over the seawall. "He waited for the waves and then took off," Taylor said.
The slow-moving storm knocked out power to as many as 80,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts, and workers in Rhode Island's state lottery headquarters fled just before the roof collapsed under the weight of snow and ice. No one was hurt.
In New Hampshire, Seabrook nuclear plant was taken off line after the storm knocked out high-voltage lines.
At least eight people were killed in weather-related traffic accidents, four in New York, two in Connecticut and one each in New Jersey and Massachusetts.
On Monday and Tuesday, airlines called off hundreds of flights at Boston and New York, as well as smaller airports in the region.
On Wednesday, however, airlines were returning to normal and travelers lined up at ticket counters at Albany (N.Y.) International Airport "What you're seeing now is a lot of travelers being delayed, trying to catch up," said airport spokesman Doug Myers.
Outside the region, "everything is on schedule and running pretty well," said Harriett Sagel, a spokeswoman for Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
In most of the mid-Atlantic states, the storm didn't live up to warnings, delivering inches of snow instead of forecasts of more than a foot.
"We dodged a bullet," said Kevin O'Brien, a Pennsylvania emergency management official. "You just can't predict Mother Nature. I think we were fortunate that the storm didn't stall where it was supposed to."
Forecasters got a lot of ribbing when many regions got only a dusting.
One Weather Channel correspondent sent to report live from New York's Times Square was heckled by pedestrians with taunts such as "Where's the storm?"
"We were told it was the storm of the century," said Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, who closed schools and banned tractor-trailers from all highways during the storm. "I'd sure rather be sitting here with a couple of angry truckers than a couple of deaths."
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