John Bacon and Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY
Planes, trains and automobiles slowly began moving Sunday as the Northeast powered back up after the weekend's brutal and historic snowstorm.
Power had returned to more than 300,000 people and businesses Sunday. That's almost half the number left cold and dark, most of them in Massachusetts, during the height of the blizzard that dumped up to 3 feet of snow.
Still, NStar, a utility for much of the state, said it does not expect to restore power to all its customers before Thursday night.
New York's major airports were operational Sunday, this after more than 6,600 flights were canceled in the region due to the storm. Even Boston's Logan International Airport was open for business.
Amtrak resumed limited service in the region Sunday. Major roads were being cleared. Most of New York's transit system was running. Boston's transit system, MBTA, began limited bus and subway service at 2 p.m. ET.
And the sun came out.
In Somerset, Mass., Mary Lewis, 48, was feeling some relief Sunday, her house again warm after almost 24 hours without power. She, her husband and teen daughter had spent hours trying to stay warm with the heat of a fireplace and hot chocolate from a gas grill. They finally had to abandon their home, taking shelter with a neighbor who never lost power.
Lewis' power was restored late Saturday. On Sunday she was was able to drive to the home of her parents, 45 minutes away, to help dig them out.
"It was a little stressful for awhile, but it's getting better," Lewis said. "At least we were prepared for it. We are resilient."
In Cambridge, Mass., about a dozen people were shoveling their cars out Sunday along a snowbound residential street. While main streets in Boston's metro area were clear, side streets still had lots of snow. An occasional vehicle crept along at about 10 mph.
Marie and Pierre Humblet were feeling ambitious. They were well-equipped, they said, with a coal shovel, a regular snow shovel and a dust pan.
"We are trying to be careful so we don't add snow to our neighbors' cars," said Marie Humblet, 69, who, with her husband, carried shovelfuls of snow across the street and dumped them. "It's hard because there's nowhere to put the snow," she said.
Much work remains before normalcy returns following the storm blamed for at least 11 U.S. deaths, including an 11-year-old Boston boy who was overcome by carbon monoxide in a running car that his father was digging out of a snowbank.
The 14.8 inches that fell on Saturday alone broke Boston's record for of 12.4 inches in a single day, set in 1994.
The 31.9 inches in Portland, Maine, is the most ever recorded there from a single snowstorm; the storm was the second biggest for Hartford, Conn. (22.8 inches) and Concord, N.H. (24 inches), and third biggest in Worcester, Mass. (28.7 inches).
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said his city dodged the worst of the weather, with Central Park coming in at just under a foot of snow.
But in New England, while many highways were cleared Sunday, many side roads remained impassable and cars remained entombed by snowdrifts. Some people found the snow packed so high against their homes they couldn't get their doors open.
Municipal workers from New York to Boston labored through the night Saturday in snow-bound communities.
"We've never seen anything like this," said Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone of Long Island, which got more than 2½ feet of snow.
The storm, dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel, was not as bad as some of the forecasts led many to fear, and not as dire as the Blizzard of '78, used by longtime New Englanders as the benchmark by which all other winter storms are measured.
Contributing: Doyle Rice, Gary Strauss, Kevin McCoy, Ben Mutzabaugh, Stephanie Haven; Associated Press
PHOTOS:Massachusetts braces for blizzard
PHOTOS:Blizzard begins in New York City
PHOTOS:User photos from Portland, Maine
PHOTOS:WCSH news crews work through blizzard
PHOTOS:Thousands of flights canceled due to blizzard
USA TODAY:Coverage from USA TODAY
WCSH:Coverage from KSDK sister station WCSH in Portland, Maine