A powerful winter storm responsible for wind, snow, tornadoes
and a flurry of traffic accidents has battered the U.S.
Northeast cancelling hundreds of airline flights but also
reviving what had been a snowless ski season.
The storm dumped30cm of snow on parts of the United States
with the heaviest snow falling across northern New York and
into New England, the National Weather Service reported.
"It feels lovely to have wonderful snow for the kids to play
in, and I think it's the kind of snow that's good for making
forts and snowmen," said Katryna Nields, a musician in
Conway, Massachusetts, who was outside her home shoveling
"It's just the kind of snow you want for between Christmas
and New Year's," she added.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for
parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and New England
and coastal flood advisories from New York's Long Island to
Airlines canceled nearly 700 flights on Thursday (local time)
after 1500 U.S. flights were canceled on Wednesday, according
to FlightAware.com, a website that tracks flights.
Some flights into and out of the three major New York City
area airports - Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy
International and LaGuardia - were delayed due to the
weather, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.
The weather service forecast 30cm to 45cm of snow for
northern New England, accompanied by freezing rain and sleet,
creating hazards on the highways and at airports.
The snow also brought renewed hope for winter recreation
across upstate and western New York.
About 20cm to 30cm of snow fell on Buffalo overnight. Light
snow and freezing drizzle persisted throughout the morning
hours, with as much as another inch or two possible in some
Before Wednesday evening's snow, Buffalo was 58cm below
average for this time of year, the weather service said.
"It's just a reminder, winter is here," said Tom Paone of the
National Weather Service in Buffalo.
Daniel Ivancic, of the Buffalo suburb of Tonawanda, said he
bought a snowmobile last winter that has sat largely idle
with snow totals well below average.
"I waited and waited and, no snow. This winter it seemed like
the same thing was going to happen until the storm hit,"
Ivancic said. "I'm just going to take advantage of every
minute of it."
Retailers, still in the holiday shopping season, expected
sales would continue with consumers looking for winter items.
"People are out spending anyway. Weather can trigger what you
purchase - not if you purchase, but what you purchase," said
Evan Gold, senior vice president of client services at
Planalytics, which tracks weather for businesses including
Police patrolling the New York State Thruway from Buffalo to
Albany reported as many as 50 accidents, mostly involving
cars that slipped off snowy roads overnight.
The massive storm system dumped record snow in north Texas
and Arkansas before it swept through the U.S. South on
Christmas Day and then veered north.
The system triggered tornadoes and left almost 200,000 people
in Arkansas and Alabama without power on Wednesday.
Authorities said an 81-year-old man died in Georgiana,
Alabama after a tree fell on his home.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday toured hard-hit
sections of Mobile, where a high school and dozens of homes
were damaged and historic oak trees were uprooted.
Residents were carting wheelbarrows filled with debris and
tree limbs and, in the city's business district, workers
removed pieces of the smashed top floor of Cantrell's
photography studio, where a young Jimmy Buffett recorded in
the late 1960s.
Virginia authorities responded to nearly 700 car crashes on
Wednesday, most of which were due to snow and ice around the
Interstate 81 corridor.
A Southwest Airlines jet skidded off the runway on Thursday
at Long Island MacArthur Airport, about 50 miles (80 km) east
of New York City, as it taxied for takeoff, Suffolk County
None of the 134 people aboard Tampa-bound flight No. 4695 was
injured, police said.
"It's been undetermined at this time if weather was a
factor," a police spokeswoman said.