Winter storm warning: northeast faces blizzard

BOSTON (AP) — A winter storm battered the northeast with heavy snow and gusty winds near hurricane strength Saturday, causing coastal flooding and threatening widespread power outages as forecasters warned. warned that conditions would worsen as the day progressed.

Parts of 10 states and some major population centers – including Philadelphia, New York and Boston – were hit by the storm. By late morning, more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow had fallen on parts of the Jersey Shore and eastern Long Island.

Boston, in the northeast sights, could receive up to 61 centimeters of snow. Isolated pockets nearby could reach up to 3 feet (1 meter), forecasters said. Winds gusted up to 70 mph (113 km/h) on Nantucket Island off Massachusetts and more than 60 mph (96 km/h) elsewhere in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Most flights to and from airports serving New York, Boston and Philadelphia were canceled on Saturday, according to FlightAware. More than 4,500 flights have been canceled across the United States. Amtrak canceled all of its Acela high-speed trains between Boston and Washington and canceled or limited other services in the area.

Across the region, residents hunkered down and avoided traveling at the behest of government leaders, who warned of whiteout conditions. Trade closed or open late.

In suburban Boston, a bundled-up Nicky Brown, 34, stood outside Gordon’s liquor store in Waltham, waiting for it to open. It was supposed to open at 8 am, and it had already gone well.

“My boyfriend drives a plow, and I had a bunch of housework to do, and I want to have a drink while I’m doing it,” she said, as she called the store to whether he was planning to open. at all. “It’s a good day to stay indoors and clean.”

In the seaside town of Newburyport, north of Boston near the New Hampshire border, authorities have strongly encouraged residents living along the shore to move to higher ground.

Video posted to social media showed wind and waves battering North Weymouth, south of Boston, flooding the streets with a slush of freezing water. Another video showed an underwater street on Nantucket.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power in Massachusetts as outages mounted. No other states reported widespread outages.

The storm had two saving graces: dry snow less able to snap trees and destroy power lines, and its timing on a weekend, when schools were closed and few people were on the move.

Officials from Virginia to Maine have warned people to stay off the roads.

Rhode Island, which was under a blizzard warning, banned all non-emergency road travel starting at 8 a.m. High winds blew snow sideways for hours in Providence.

In West Hartford, Connecticut, a tractor-trailer crashed into Interstate 84, closing several lanes.

Massachusetts has banned heavy trucks from interstate highways.

On New York’s Long Island, East Hampton officials reported near-whiteout conditions, up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow by mid-morning, and wind gusts over 50 mph (80 kph).

“There’s a lot of snow blowing so of course we’re urging people not to get out at all, let the highway crews do their job,” said city supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc. “It’s going to be tough enough without people getting stuck on the pavement.”

In Philadelphia, where 6 inches (15 centimeters) were reported early Saturday, few drivers ventured into streets covered in knee-high galleries.

Parts of the Jersey Shore were over 13 inches (33 centimeters) at noon, the National Weather Service reported.

Delaware only allowed essential personnel to drive in two of its three counties.

Many hardy New Englanders took the storm in stride.

“It’s nothing,” said Brown, who has lived in Waltham most of his life except for a brief stint in northern Maine. “I’ve seen much worse up there.”

Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray jokingly invited the public to his suburban Boston home on Saturday for a free snow removal clinic.

“I will provide the walkway and multiple walkways to ensure your training takes place in the most realistic situation,” he said.

Parts of 10 states were under blizzard warning: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, as well as much of the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Areas closest to the coast were expected to bear the brunt of the storm.

Virginia, where a blizzard this month stranded hundreds of motorists for hours on Interstate 95, hasn’t been shy about preparing. In Maryland, the governor has mobilized the national guard.

Washington and Baltimore were spared the worst of the storm.

The worst of the storm was expected to blow Sunday morning over Canada, where several provinces were under warning.

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