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The Cape Bears Brunt Of Blizzard's Onslaught

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's turn an ear to a part of this country that's at the center of the big Northeastern snowstorm. Parts of the country, of course, are better off than expected. New England is seeing plenty of snow, and the weather is especially dramatic on Cape Cod, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean like a long, long pier. Sean Corcoran of member station WCAI is in Mashpee, which is on Cape Cod. Welcome to the program.

SEAN CORCORAN, BYLINE: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: So what's it look like where you are?

CORCORAN: Well, if I look out a window, I can't see anything because it's completely covered with snow. But if you go outside, it looks like a snowstorm for sure. It is blowing hard. The snow's coming down sideways. We're really in the thick of it now. And standing outside is like standing on top of a mountain. That's exactly what it reminds me of - that these winds continue steadily blowing.

INSKEEP: Well, that's really interesting. I guess Cape Cod would be a similar situation because the winds have had miles and miles and miles out at sea with nothing to slow them down before they reach you.

CORCORAN: That's true, and those winds are a real problem when it comes to coastal flooding. We just had a high tide around 5 o'clock this morning. We'll have another one around 5 o'clock this afternoon. And so as those winds blow, the water gets to build up, build up and when the high tide hits, we are worried about some of the communities, particularly the town of Nantucket, which is also an island, which has just been getting pounded.

INSKEEP: You know, sometimes a snowstorm is a very quiet time and sometimes not so much. What does it sound like to be where you are?

CORCORAN: Right now, I really compare it to being in a shack in the White Mountains, maybe Mount Washington in New Hampshire or something like that. But there were times earlier in the morning where I heard thunder. And we had anticipated this thundersnow, and I did hear some thunder. By the time I got the recorder out, it had passed.

But overnight wasn't the freight train sound that I anticipated. It wasn't until earlier this morning, probably around 5 o'clock, that the winds really started to pick up here. And, as I said, we're still in the thick of it. We probably will be until about noon today.

INSKEEP: So, of course, you're in a resort community. People spend a lot of time in the summer on Cape Cod. Who's there in the winter?

CORCORAN: Well, in the wintertime, we do have a significantly older population here, a lot of retirees, and not all of them are what they call snowbirds. Not all of them are leaving in the winter. Many of them stay. So to give you an idea, our year-round population is about 200,000. In the summer, it balloons up to about 500,000. So among those 200,000 here now, many are older folks. And our concern was that the temperatures would rise during the storm, and we'd really get a heavy snow. If there is kind of a bright light here, it's the fact that the snow is pretty light. So even though there's about a foot and a half of it, it's easier to move. The problem with the winds right now - don't move it now because it's going to blow right back.

INSKEEP: And is it your sense, from what you can glean anyway, that most people have hunkered down safely and that they're just waiting for this to pass?

CORCORAN: Really, people took this seriously - yes. People are hunkered down. There's no one out. I've seen no one even walking around. So, yeah, it's really serious here, and people are staying in. They know we're not done yet. We've had some roads closed, but I don't even think they need to close them just because nobody's out there right now. It's pretty impassible.

INSKEEP: Sean, thanks very much.

CORCORAN: Thank you, Steve.

INSKEEP: That's Sean Corcoran of member station WCAI on Cape Cod. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.