A man drags a shovel up Beacon Hill during a severe
snowstorm in Boston, Massachusetts. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A record-breaking blizzard packing hurricane-force winds
has pummeled the northeastern United States, causing at least
two storm-related deaths, cutting power to 700,000 homes and
businesses and shutting down travel.
The mammoth storm that stretched from the Great Lakes to the
Atlantic coast dumped more than 90cm of snow across the
Northeast, the National Weather Service said. Blizzard and
flood warnings were in effect for the coast.
In Stratford, Connecticut, Mayor John Harkins said he had
never seen such a heavy snowfall, with rates of 12.5cm an
hour at times overnight, he told local WTNH television.
"Even the ploughs are getting stuck," Harkins said.
The storm concentrated its fury on Connecticut, Rhode Island
and Massachusetts, with the top snowfall 95cm in Milford,
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee banned all travel on
roads in order to aid snow plow crews. He told CNN that
National Guard troops were rescuing stranded motorists,
especially at uncleared on-ramps.
The mammoth storm dumped 73.2cm of snow on Portland, Maine,
breaking a 1979 record, and the weather service said there is
more on the way.
Police in New York's Suffolk County turned to snowmobiles in
some cases to rescue hundreds of motorists stuck overnight on
the Long Island Expressway, said police spokesman Rich
Glanzer. Some spent the night in their cars.
In Poughkeepsie, New York, a man in his 70s was killed when a
driver lost control of her car and hit him, media reported.
An 80-year-old woman clearing her driveway in Prospect,
Connecticut, died on Friday when she was struck by a
hit-and-run driver, a spokesman for state emergency services
A 30-year-old motorist in Auburn, New Hampshire, died when
his car went off the road, but the man's health, and not the
weather, might have been a factor in the accident, state
POWER LINES DOWN
Utility companies reported about 700,000 customers without
electricity across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and
Connecticut as the wet, heavy snow brought down tree branches
and power lines.
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts,
lost power and shut down automatically late on Friday, but
there was no threat to the public, the Nuclear Regulatory
Almost 2,000 flights were canceled on Saturday, according to
FlightAware, which tracks airline delays. Boston's Logan
International Airport and Bradley International Airport in
Windsor Locks, Connecticut, were shut down.
The National Weather Service said the storm was expected to
taper off from West to East into the afternoon. Snowfall is
forecast to total from 60 to 90cm in eastern Massachusetts,
Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency
Management Agency, said coastal communities were being
evacuated from Salisbury to Hull because of feared flooding
from a high tide combined with a storm surge.
Offshore waves were expected to reach 9m, he said.
The heavy snowfall was backed by winds that gusted to 133kmh
at Cuttyhunk, New York, and brought down trees across the
region, the weather service said.
The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut,
New York and Maine declared a state of emergency before the
storm. The U.S. Postal Service suspended mail delivery in the
six New England states.
Amtrak suspended rail service between New York, Boston and
points north on Friday afternoon.
The town of Gorham, Maine, was buried under 82.5cm of snow,
and Philip Gagnon, chairman of the town council, said many
roads would not be cleared until late Sunday or Monday.
"We've had our crews out since yesterday morning," he said.
"It's going to probably take some time because they can only
do so much before we can rest them," he said.
Fashion Week in New York went on unfazed as crowds of people
arrived to watch the morning's shows by Ruffian and LaCoste.
Andrea Daney said she was trying to be discreet as she
changed from snow boots to high-heeled crushed blue velvet
"I'm calling it the shoe storm of the century," said Daney, a
digital marketing senior manager for LaCoste. "You have to
make adjustments to your outfit."