Schools, offices close as long-lived storm clobbers US

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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NEW YORK, USA (AP) — A seemingly endless winter storm that hindered travel across most of the country over the long holiday weekend is delivering a last wallop as it swoops through the north-east, dumping heavy snow, shuttering hundreds of schools, and bedevilling commuters in the region, yesterday.

The storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region late Sunday and yesterday and could bring 10 to 20 inches total by this morning from Pennsylvania to Maine, forecasters said. Heavy snow was also expected in the Appalachian Mountains down to Tennessee and North Carolina.

“It's moving very slowly, so the snow is just going to continue through the day,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Vogt said.

By afternoon yesterday, the storm had dropped 27 inches of snow in Delanson, New York, 25 miles north-west of Albany — the highest snow total in the north-east so far.

The same storm has pummelled the US for days as it moved cross country, dumping heavy snow from California to the Midwest and inundating other areas with rain.

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency yesterday for seven counties in eastern New York and assigned 300 National Guard members to assist with snow removal. State police had responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide since it started snowing.

“We're tough; we've seen it all, we can handle it all,” Cuomo said at a storm briefing before urging people to stay off the roads. He told non-essential State employees to stay home.

But some workers had no choice but to trudge through knee-high snow and brush off their cars before heading out on the slushy roads.

“I just hate driving in snow,” Kaia Jansson said as she raked snow off her car in Albany. “It's always a mess, and it's cold and not fun.”

In Nashua, New Hampshire, Alana Kirkpatrick didn't enjoy her 5:00 am “workout”, which consisted of removing heaps of snow from her car.

“Why do I still live in New England?” she said.

Hundreds of schools were closed in advance of the region's first significant storm of the season, a “nor'easter“ so named because the winds typically come from the north-east.

“It's going to be a long, difficult storm,” New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said.

At least four counties closed schools yesterday in West Virginia, where two inches to a foot of snow was forecast. Closer to the heavily populated, coastal Interstate 95 corridor, a wintry mix was more likely. The National Park Service said parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and US 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park were closed because of heavy snow predictions.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said yesterday at a news conference that the worst was still ahead. He closed state government buildings for non-essential workers at noon.

Only three inches of snow was forecast for New York City, where schools were expected to remain open, and five inches for Philadelphia.

The National Weather Service predicted that the Boston area could get seven inches of snow, with lower amounts to the south and into Rhode Island and Connecticut. Communities north of Boston could see a foot in the storm expected to reach its peak this morning, snarling the morning commute.

Rowe in western Massachusetts received 16 inches of snow from the storm that started Sunday night.

More than 660 flights into or out of the US were cancelled yesterday with more than 4,000 delays, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware. Airports in the New York and Boston areas accounted for many of them. There were 950 cancellations and 8,800 delays on Sunday.

The storm also caused major traffic disruptions. Tractor trailers were banned or lower speed limits put in place on stretches of highway in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. New York also posted lower speed limits on some highways.

Many buses from New York City to Pennsylvania and upstate destinations such as Ithaca and Binghamton were cancelled.

A commuter ferry on its way to Boston, where it was rainy and windy yesterday morning, hit a wave and listed heavily, sending some passengers to the floor. No injuries were reported.

The trouble began in the east on Sunday as the storm moved out of the Midwest after days of pummelling parts of the US.


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