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Winter refuses to let go

It’s not over yet.

The late-winter storm Stella blew into New England this week and covered Malden with about eight inches of heavy, wet snow and ice. The storm shut city offices, canceled meetings and slowed the MBTA’s Orange Line down to a crawl.

On Tuesday afternoon, during the height of the storm that brought high winds and sleet to the region, roughly half the homes in Malden lost power for several hours. National Grid blamed the outages on a cable that caused problems at several substations in the city and next door in Medford.

Malden’s younger residents cashed in on two of the snow days typically built into every yearly school schedule. Mayor Gary Christenson’s new virtual personal assistant, Tornado, which debuted during the State of the City address, announced Wednesday’s school closure on the city’s Facebook page.

Residents turned to Facebook for updates on the power outages and to report problems with plowing city streets. While some residents posted thanks to the Public Works Department for keeping up with the storm, others posted the names of their streets and asked plows not to forget them. And several residents who were out shoveling complained that plows came through pushing snow back onto sidewalks and in front of driveways.

“I can understand some of it coming up on the sidewalk, but this … covered the entire sidewalk and my poor neighbor,” wrote one woman, who also noted that residents are fined when sidewalks are not shoveled. She suggested the DPW should pay any fines for sidewalks that plows refilled with snow and chunks of ice.

While Stella may have been the last significant roar of winter, it’s not the end. The 10-day forecast is calling for freezing temperature and snow showers this weekend. Light snow and ice pellets are included in the forecast for the end of next week.

According to the DPW, the city had already spent about $600,000 on snow and ice removal before Stella swept in. It will take some time to add up the cost of winter’s final blasts and the effects of the weather on the city budget.

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