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Wicked winds to wallop New England

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

BOSTON — A late-winter storm that buried parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic swept into New England on Thursday, bringing snow, rain, brutal wind, big waves and fears of coastal flooding.

Powerful waves and high winds were expected to cause more trouble than snow from Rhode Island to Maine.

In the seacoast town of Scituate, Mass., about 30 miles south of Boston, about a dozen streets were closed when high tide sent 2 to 2 12 feet of water washing into some areas. Emergency management officials were worried about getting through two more high tides before the storm was expected to end Friday.

“There are no mandatory evacuations, but it is strongly advised,” said Scituate police Chief Brian Stewart. “Why put yourself at risk? Folks have been through this before, and they know what happens in these areas. We're recommending that people in areas that have experienced coastal flooding to evacuate three hours before high tide.”

In Salisbury, Mass., on the New Hampshire border, officials ordered evacuations for homes along several beachfront streets.

The region was bracing for the brunt of the storm Thursday evening and Friday morning.

The National Weather Service was predicting up to 7 inches of heavy, wet snow in southeastern Connecticut and wind gusts up to 50 mph. A coastal flood warning was in effect for east-facing shores in Massachusetts, with up to a 3-foot surge at high tide in some areas. Central Massachusetts was bracing for 8 to 12 inches of snow, with predictions for Boston and nearby areas of 6 to 10 inches.

On Cape Cod, where the storm was expected to be mostly rain, officials were concerned about beach erosion. The area suffered extensive erosion from Superstorm Sandy in October and a major snowstorm last month.

“We've really gotten more erosion in the last six months than we've experienced in the last decade,” said Sandwich Town Manager George Dunham. “These three storms are really taking a toll.”

The storm pummeled the nation's midsection Tuesday, killing at least five people in weather-related traffic accidents.

In Virginia, three people were killed, including a 22-year-old man who died early Thursday when his vehicle ran off an icy road, went over an embankment and landed upside down in a creek. No details were immediately available on the other two storm-related deaths.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency and about 50 National Guard soldiers were sent to help clear roads. Up to 20 inches of snow piled up in central and western parts of the state. About 120,000 customers remained without electricity by mid-day Thursday, down from more than 200,000 outages at the height of the storm.

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