Monster storm dumps more than 3 feet of snow on parts of Northeast
Two giant storms have met up to form one large storm over the Northeast, bringing very heavy snow across the region. NBC's Al Roker reports.Updated at 8:55 a.m. ET: Parts of New England woke up Saturday to the largest snowfall on record — more than 3 feet in places, with more to come — after a monster blizzard that packed hurricane winds, knocked out power and marooned cars.
At least two deaths were blamed on snow-related car accidents, but transportation in much of the Northeast was at a standstill. The governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island ordered all roads closed so plows could work.
“This is a record-setting storm,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “Unless you face an emergency, please stay put.”
The East Coast blizzard will bring about extreme coastal flooding, gusts up to 70 mph on the coasts and storm surges as high as 4.5 feet. Then, the big dig out will kick in on Sunday. The Weather Channel's Mike Seidel reports from Revere Beach, Massachusetts.At least 645,000 people were without power, including almost 400,000 in Massachusetts and 187,000 in Rhode Island.
Most major airports were closed — either officially or practically, with no flights taking off or landing. More than 5,300 flights were canceled, according to the website FlightAware. The government said Newark Liberty International Airport would struggle back to life at 8:30 a.m.
Portland, Maine, had 29.3 inches of snow at 8 a.m. ET, making it the worst snowstorm in that city’s history, the National Weather Service said. Milford, Conn., had 38 inches on the ground, and the town of Hamden, outside New Haven, reported 34 inches.
Boston had 20 to 25 inches at different spots in the city, and Central Park in New York recorded 8.1.
The National Weather Service recorded peak wind gusts of 83 mph in Cuttyhunk, Mass. — the strength of a Category 1 hurricane. There were gusts of 72 mph in Westport, Conn., and 76 mph in East Boston. Plum Island, N.Y., had gusts of 75 mph.
Coastal residents, still weary from Hurricane Sandy in October, were worried about the prospect of flooding.
“I’m really nervous,” Kathy Niznansky, a teacher in coastal Fairfield, Conn., told The Associated Press. She said was out of her house near the beach for two months after Sandy. “I just don’t want any more flooding.”
As traffic snarled and officials issued warnings for residents to stay home, the coastal areas prepared for a major storm surge. NBC's Ron Mott reports.The National Weather Service, in a notice posted at 4 a.m. ET, warned of “hurricane force wind gusts across New England and Long Island” in addition to heavy snow. The blizzard was expected to bring extreme coastal flooding.
On the Long Island Expressway, 60 to 100 cars were stuck in the snow, said Lt. Daniel Meyer of Suffolk County Police. He said officers had worked through the night to get people out of the cars and take them to safety. Meyer said no one was killed.
“The plows cannot plow because of all the disabled motorists. and the snow keeps piling and piling up,” Meyer said.
On Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick had ordered non-essentially vehicles off the roads and said people should brace to be snowed in for two days. He said the storm was "profoundly different" from others the state has endured in recent years.
In Connecticut, Malloy also banned car traffic on limited-access highways from 4 p.m. Friday. He ordered all roads closed Saturday morning, and notice was sent over the state’s Emergency Broadcast System.
LaGuardia was virtually empty Friday evening as 4,700 flights were canceled nationwide. NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.The winter storm was fueled by two weather systems — a so-called clipper pattern that swept across the Midwest and a band of rain that churned up from the South. They clashed explosively over the Northeast on Friday.
The storm arrived in earnest Friday night. The governors of New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island all declared states of emergency.
More than 800 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York to provide roadway support, emergency transportation and back-up for first responders, the Department of Defense said.
In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a car driven by an 18-year-old female went out of control in the snow and struck Muril M. Hancock, 74, who was walking near the shoulder, police said Friday. Hancock died from his injuries at the hospital.
As residents scrambled to prepare in the event of a power outage, some gas stations in New York and New Jersey have already run out of gas. NBC's Brian Williams reports.There was also a fatal crash in Prospect, Conn., at about 9 p.m. ET Friday, state police told NBCConnecticut.com.
A 19-car pileup on Interstate 295 in Falmouth, Maine, was blamed on the storm. Police said there were minor injuries.
In New York, the Metro-North commuter railroad suspended service Friday night. The Long Island Rail Road shut down service to eastern Long Island about 9 p.m.
New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned people to stay in, encouraging New Yorkers to cook a meal or read a good book.