M Street Beach in South Boston on Tuesday (Jim O'Sullivan/Globe Staff)
Video from Easton snowplow truck
In the days and weeks that follow this blizzard, local insurance companies and agents say they expect to receive a torrent of phone calls as homeowners, businesses and drivers try to recoup their losses from snow, wind, and water damage.
“We’ll see these claims,” Skelly said. Some clients, he added, may not realize the damage caused by the blizzard, such as water damage to inside walls, until weeks later when the snow starts to melt.
Skelly, insurance agents and companies such as Liberty Mutual and Commerce Insurance closed local offices on Tuesday. But many had information on their websites about how to make a claim. They also were checking voicemails or directing customers to service centers in parts of the country unaffected by the blizzard.
Liberty Mutual, for example, has claims service offices in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado and Washington to handle initial customer calls, said Glenn Greenburg, a company spokesman.
Powerful winter storms that have occurred frequently in recent years are triggering more insurance claims at higher costs across the country. Last year, winter weather was blamed for 15 percent of automobile, home, and business insurance claims in the United States, more than double the 20-year average of 6.7 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group based in New York City.
The latest storm radar image from the National Weather Service
Where are the power outages?
Around 4 p.m. there were 31,220 outages in Massachusetts, according to the state’s utility companies. The problems have been concentrated on the South Shore, Cape Cod and the Islands, though many people have lost their electric connections in other parts of the state.
The hardest hit areas include Nantucket, where there are more than 11,000 outages (86 percent of customers), and Provincetown, which has more than 5,500 outages (97 percent).
To track the issues, check the Globe’s power outage map.
By Wednesday morning, most people in Nantucket – which went completely dark during the blizzard – had their power back on, according to the police chief.
“We got about 60 to 70 percent of the power restored, and they’re still working on it,” said Chief William Pittman, who said he expected to have nearly complete restoration by the end of the day. “Some houses where the connection was lost at the house — we have to search all those out — many are unoccupied. It’s possible that maybe 5 percent of the houses will be a few days away.”
The police department scrambled Tuesday to check on residents and transport people to shelters and hospitals on the island, a summer haven for the wealthy with a small population of year-round residents. The overnight hours were quiet, said Pittman.
Police have begun getting calls from people who live in remote areas with small, unplowed roads, who are running out of fuel for their generators.
Flooding damage was minimal from the storm, Pittman said, though a handful of homes had water rise above the foundation and into their living areas.
The island is working with the Coast Guard to do a flyover damage assessment to check for people in remote areas who might need help.
Pittman said he had lived on the island for 10 years, and it was worst storm he has seen, though others on the island have told him that summer storms have brought worse damage because they smash boats, sending debris flying through the air.
By Wednesday morning, Provincetown had its power back, said a fire dispatcher.
In Chatham, police and fire dispatchers said they did not respond to major issues overnight.
In Sandwich, there were no major storm-related issues, according to officials, but there were about 1,200 customers without power as of 10:20 a.m., according to the NStar website.
Utility crews lined Ocean Street in Marshfield Wednesday morning, trying to restore electricity as officials sought to assess the damage from a seawall breach in the Brant Rock section of town.