Late-winter storm pummels Northeast with heavy, wet snow
A winter storm dumped heavy, wet snow in parts of the Northeast on Tuesday, causing tens of thousands of power outages, widespread school closings, dangerous driving conditions and a plane to slide off a taxiway.
The storm's path included parts of New England, upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. Snow totals by the time it ends Wednesday were expected to range from a few inches to a few feet, depending on the area, reports AP.
About two feet of snow fell in parts of northern New York and the Catskill Mountains, with Indian Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains recording 31 inches (79 centimeters) of snow. Gov. Kathy Hochul said some areas could get an additional foot by Wednesday morning.
“Heavy snow has impacted much of the state today — and it’s not over yet,” Hochul said late Tuesday on Twitter. She said more than 74,700 households had lost power and that a windy night was anticipated.
More than two feet of snow fell on some parts of New Hampshire Tuesday including the town of Bennington, which recorded 30 inches (76 centimeters), according to the National Weather Service.
In Derry, New Hampshire, firefighters and police officers used chain saws, shovels and their bare hands to rescue a girl trapped under a fallen tree. Authorities said the girl had been playing outside near a parent who was clearing snow when the tree fell on her. The girl was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
All northbound lanes of Interstate 95 on the Piscataqua River Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire were shut down for about an hour after tractor trailer trucks became stuck on the bridge due to icy conditions. New Hampshire State Police said troopers across the state on Tuesday responded to more than 200 crashes and vehicles that slid off the road.
In the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, heavy, wet snow made driving treacherous, weighed down tree limbs and caused spinouts. Further east in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where as much as 18 inches (45 centimeters) of snow was reported to have fallen, Jean Guerrer said the conditions were too dangerous for him to drive to work as a Boston-based taxi driver.
The storm in the Northeast came as California faced warnings of more flooding, potentially damaging winds and difficult travel conditions on mountain highways as a new atmospheric river pushed into the swamped state early Tuesday. So far this winter, California has been battered by 10 previous atmospheric rivers, long plumes of moisture from the Pacific Ocean, as well as powerful storms fueled by arctic air that produced blizzard conditions.
A Delta Air Lines plane veered off a paved surface as it taxied for takeoff from a Syracuse, New York, airport Tuesday morning. Flight 1718, which was bound for New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, slid into a grassy area, forcing passengers off the plane and onto buses back to the terminal, according to airport officials. No one was injured and the airport remained open.
About 2,100 flights traveling to, from or within the U.S. were canceled Tuesday, with Boston and New York City area airports seeing the highest number of scrubbed flights, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.
The storm shut down state and local government offices in Maine, where snow arrived later in the day and power outages climbed Tuesday with more than 80,000 customers affected Tuesday night. About 70,000 customers were without power in New Hampshire.
In Massachusetts, more than 57,000 customers without power Tuesday evening. More than 30,000 electricity customers were affected in Vermont.
The National Weather Service said that in New York, 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow per hour or more fell in higher elevations in the eastern Catskills through the mid-Hudson Valley, central Taconics and Berkshires.
Dustin Reidy, a county legislator who lives in Albany, said he stocked up on groceries and had prepared an emergency bin of candles, flashlights, and extra batteries.
“I don’t think the storm is as bad in my neck of the woods, but I give a lot of credit to the snow plows,” said Reidy, who was working from home.
The snowfall totals will be among the highest of the season, said meteorologist Andrew Orrison of the weather service office in College Park, Maryland.
“It has been below average for snowfall across the Northeast this year, and so this nor'easter will be very impactful," he said.
While higher elevations got snow, authorities warned residents in coastal areas to watch for possible flooding because of heavy rains. The National Weather Service in New York said wind gusts could reach 50 mph (80 kph) across Long Island and lower Connecticut.
It was Election Day in New Hampshire for town officeholders, but more than 70 communities postponed voting because of the storm.
In Kingston, New Hampshire, police offered voters rides to the polls. In Weare, power was knocked out at the polling place, forcing officials to set up battery-powered lights until a generator arrived. Interstate 93, the state’s main north-south route, was shut down in Londonderry in both directions after electrical wires came down.
In Connecticut, state government offices and courts were closed Tuesday. State offices were also closed in New York.
The weather service said expected snow totals from the storm, which is forecast to wind up Wednesday, ranged from more than 2 feet (1 meter) in higher elevations in New York, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts, to 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in Boston.