New England digs out after blizzard

New England digs out after blizzard

A classic “Nor’easter” storm that brought a severe blizzard to New England finally subsides on February 8, 1978, and the region begins to dig out from under several feet of snow. Over the previous 72 hours, some areas of Rhode Island and Massachusetts had received as many as 55 inches of snow.

Three major weather systems all converged near the Atlantic Coast on February 5, and New York City was the first to be hit with a snowstorm. As the storm moved northeast, it stalled over Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, catching many of the region’s residents by surprise. It is estimated that 3,500 cars were abandoned on Massachusetts streets and highways and several people died in their vehicles on Interstate 93 when they became trapped. A college hockey playoff was played at the Boston Garden despite the weather, and many of the spectators were unable to return home.

On February 6, the blizzard whipped up powerful sustained winds of up to 50 miles per hour with gusts of nearly 100 mph. Fifty-foot waves on the Massachusetts coast wiped out seaside homes, while further north, in Maine, waves destroyed three lighthouses and an amusement pier.

One of the hardest-hit communities in New England was Providence, Rhode Island, where travel became nearly impossible and Governor Joseph Garrahy ordered all businesses except grocery stores closed. Few of these stores had any food in stock, and eventually, supplies had to be airlifted in to Providence College. Similar conditions were found in areas of Boston, and looting broke out in some spots. Governor Michael Dukakis banned all cars from the roads because stuck vehicles were making it impossible for snow plows to clear the streets.

In the end, 56 deaths between February 5 and February 8 were attributed to the blizzard. Thousands more people were left homeless. In one tragic incident, a young child died after becoming lost in the snow–although he was only yards from his home, he could not be located. This was the worst blizzard to hit New England since 1888.

READ MORE: Major Blizzards in US History


Blizzard 2015: New England Digs Out After Monster Snow and Damaging Floods

New England dug and chipped its way out Wednesday from an epic blizzard that swamped towns with almost 3 feet of snow and encased homes in water that quickly turned to ice.

Massachusetts lifted a driving ban at midnight, but Boston remained under a state of emergency. Trains and buses started rolling again there with heavy delays, and flights resumed at Logan airport.

Things were much worse on the coast and islands. Mammoth coastal swells collapsed 50 feet of a seawall in Marshfield, and a hospital briefly lost power on the island of Nantucket.

“We’re back on line,” Chief William Pittman of the Nantucket police told NBC’s TODAY. “We’re back in the 21st century, I guess.”

FRIGID morning in #Northeast w/ temps mainly in single digits/teens as #Juno winds down more #snow moves in tomorrow pic.twitter.com/dvGYX17CB1

— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) January 28, 2015

The final snow totals were daunting — an even 3 feet in Auburn and Hudson, Massachusetts, a record 34½ inches in Worcester and 31 inches in South Boston. Thompson, Connecticut, got 33½ inches and Burrillville, Rhode Island, 26½.

Wind gusts near hurricane-force took the nuclear power plant off line in Plymouth, Massachusetts and tipped over a 110-foot replica of a Revolutionary War tall ship in Newport, Rhode Island.

Airports in the Northeast came back to life, but thousands of travelers were stuck in the travel tangle. More than 7,000 flights were scrapped during the two-day storm, including more than 4,700 on Tuesday alone. An additional 600 were canceled for Wednesday as major airlines struggled back to normal schedules.

The snowstorm delivered a glancing blow to New York, where the final total was 9.8 inches, and forecasters who had called for as much as 3 feet were left to explain how they got it wrong. The storm set up farther east than forecast models had predicted.

Louis Uccellini, the head of the National Weather Service, ordered his staff to improve communication with the public and review its treatment of the forecasting models. He said the weather service needs to make sure it isn’t seen as hyping future storms.


New England digs out after blizzard wreaks snow, floods and power cuts

New England on Wednesday started its first day of digging out following a powerful winter storm that dumped 3ft of snow, flooded and froze coastal streets, played havoc with travel and cut electricity to thousands.

As they did so, forecasters said two more rounds of snow could be on the way this weekend – Frank Nocera, senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton, told the Associated Press a fast-moving Friday storm could bring 2in to 4in more snow and strong wind gusts to some areas around Boston.

Another storm could bring snow, or snow turning into rain, from Sunday night into Monday morning in Massachusetts.

“Neither storm will be close in magnitude to the one we just had, but there’s really no place to put additional snow,” Nocera said. “Even 2in to 4in will be an inconvenience.”

Auburn, Hudson and Lunenburg in central Massachusetts all received 3ft of snow between Monday and Tuesday evening. Towns in southern New Hampshire and Maine trailed close behind, with 33in in Nashua and 27in in Lewiston, Maine. In Boston, train services and flights lurched back to normalcy with cancellations and delays.

More than 600 flights were canceled on Wednesday as airlines attempted to catch up with the nearly 7,700 flights that were canceled on the first two days of the week.

“Cancellations are obviously way down from yesterday so most [airports] are functioning, up and running,” said Melanie Hinton, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, an airline industry association. “Boston will still experience some delays and cancellations.” New York airports were accepting all incoming flights, though there were still some outbound delays, she said.

Areas of central and eastern Massachusetts were still recovering power, with minor outages in Maine and southern New Hampshire as of Wednesday morning. Governors in the latter two states urged residents to check on neighbors and avoid driving.

On Nantucket, 4,500 people were without power on Wednesday morning, accounting for more than a third of the island’s population. The beach town typically associated with northern summer vacations was pummelled with snow, floods and winds of up to 78mph – the storm’s highest recorded gust.

Rocks and debris litter the floor of a house damaged by ocean waves during a winter storm in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Photograph: Michael Dwyer/AP

The utility providing electricity, National Grid, estimated that 50 crews working on the island would have power back up by midnight.

“Not that I’m counting the minutes, but they should be here in 52 minutes,” said Nantucket chief William Pittman, at about 10am. “The worst impact we had was the interruption of electrical power and the damage it did to the electric grid.”

Pittman said several streets were flooded and frozen, trapping vehicles in ice. The disruption in electric service could cause ongoing problems, as National Grid will have to individually re-energize homes invaded by salt water during the storm.

Without electricity to energize furnaces and boilers (which are typically controlled by electric thermostats), some houses could have bursts pipes, causing thousands of dollars in further damage that may not be found until vacationers visit their homes in the spring.

Several coastal towns in Massachusetts suffered similar damage, as rising tides and storm surge breached sea walls and eroded beaches, sending salt water into oceanside streets.

The disruptive system was moving slowly northward toward Nova Scotia, Canada, according to the National Weather Service. Weather warnings for New England were lifted on Tuesday.


New England Digs Out from Blizzard of 2015

Published January 27, 2015 &bull Updated on January 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Blizzard-battered New Englanders are heading back onto the roads and digging out of the snow Wednesday after a howling storm with winds over 70 mph slammed Boston and surrounding areas, knocking out power and flooding coastal areas.

A statewide travel ban in Massachusetts was lifted overnight, and both the MBTA and Logan International Airport are back up and running. About 8,600 customers remain without power in New England, including 4,300 in Nantucket alone. Officials in Nantucket say all public school, private schools and town offices will be closed on Wednesday.

Eastern Massachusetts, which fared worse than western Massachusetts, saw more than 2 feet of snow from the storm. In Boston, there was a record snowfall on Tuesday alone, with 18.5 inches of snow, shattering the previous record set in 2011 of 8.8 inches of snow. Mayor Marty Walsh said it was the sixth biggest snowfall in the city's history. Worcester also saw a record snowfall of 34.5 inches.

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Walsh said the parking ban in the city will remain in place until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, though the city has already stopped ticketing and towing. He also asked residents to help shovel out their elderly neigbors and clear paths around fire hydrants. Later in the day, Mayor Marty Walsh released a statement saying schools would remain closed Thursday.

Flooding was an issue in some areas at high tide Tuesday, with a portion of the seawall in Marshfield collapsing, several roads in the Boston area closing and some coastal homes becoming enveloped in water. About 50 to 100 Marshfield residents were urged to evacuate before high tide Tuesday afternoon. Nine homes were severely damaged, and some may need to be torn down.

A New Bedford, Massachusetts, man died Tuesday while shoveling snow. He had a pre-existing medical condition that is believed to have contributed to his death. Human remains were also found washed up on King's Beach in Swampscott, though it's unclear if that is related to the storm in any way.

Pilgrim Nuclear Station in Plymouth also had to shut down temporarily after the two main transmission lines leaving the plant went down. But state officials said there is no public safety issue.

"I'm going to give everybody an A on this one," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said of how everyone handled the storm.

He said the state is in "relatively good shape," and that the biggest issues going forward will be clearing sidewalks, finding places to put the snow, and dealing with the cold and how it affects the state's public transit systems.

Baker said there was "heated debate" about implementing a travel ban, but ultimately he felt it worked out well. However, he said he does not want this to become "the first lever everybody pushes" whenever it snows.

He and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito will be visiting storm damaged areas in Scituate, Nantucket and Marshfield later on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the Wednesday morning commute was "as good as could be expected under the circumstances." The volume was light due in part to the fact that schools are still closed.

The MBTA is running Wednesday, but Pollack said residents should expect to see some problems on the MBTA due to the cold weather, with possible equipment malfunctions and switches freezing.

"We may continue to see some cold-related delays," she said.

Commuters are encouraged to check out the MBTA website for full updates and any changes.

The National Weather Service over the weekend had issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions. But Baker said the cold actually helped in that regard, as the snow was lighter and didn't cause as many power outages as had originally been anticipated.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy lifted his state's travel ban at 2 p.m. Wednesday, adding that there had only been 15 accidents on the roads during the travel ban. However, he is still encouraging residents to limit their trave land to use common sense while driving.

Malloy also said state employees were expected to come back to work on Wednesday.

In Rhode Island, the travel ban put in place on Monday night was lifted at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan also declared a state of emergency, which was lifted Wednesday morning.

Maine declared a state of emergency on Tuesday morning, and Vermont has reported relatively few issues as a result of the storm.

On Monday, life abruptly stopped across the region as officials ordered workers to go home early, banned travel, closed bridges and tunnels, and assembled their biggest plowing crews. MBTA service also shut down.

More than 7,700 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled. Government offices closed. Shoppers stocking up on food jammed supermarkets and elbowed one another for what was left.

With so many people out of work and school on Tuesday, it also left time for some fun. In Boston, a person dressed in a yeti costume roamed the streets, becoming a national phenomenon in a matter of hours. And in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, an afternoon snowball fight advertised on Facebook drew a good-sized crowd to Market Square.


Town digs out after 29-inch blizzard

THE Bradley family on Cedar Place had fun shoveling and climbing a mountain of snow in front of their home. From left: Bob Bradley, Kim Bradley, Paige Bradley and Corinne Bradley.

WAKEFIELD — Snow began falling here, however lightly, early Monday afternoon. When it was over around 5:30 this morning — after the rage and fury of a significant, classic nor’easter — Wakefield had received 29 inches that rested on top of nearly six more that fell over the weekend.

The blizzard brought the town and all communities in eastern Massachusetts to an almost complete standstill. Virtually all businesses were closed, school was cancelled for two days, the streets were barren Tuesday of everything except hard-swirling, wind-blown flakes and the plow operators charged with removing them and when residents finally began the cleanup process, they encountered knee-high drifts or worse.

Getting around this morning was much easier than yesterday and, according to DPW Director Richard Stinson, it was only possible because of the work done by this men and that of private plow contractors, many of whom worked at least 30 hours straight.

If you count the mellow beginning of the storm Monday afternoon and this morning’s tapering end, the blizzard lasted 39 hours.

DPW crews reported to work as usual at 7 a.m. Monday, preparing equipment and materials for the well-forecasted nor’easter. They also began pre-treating streets up until 3 p.m. All members of the DPW reported to work at 5 p.m. Monday and by 5:30 p.m. the roads were being treated with salt.

By 9 p.m., the entire complement of snow removal operators — town and private — began plowing. The blizzard soon ratcheted up in ferocity and crews had all they could handle trying to keep ahead of the drifting snow. Visibility was a problem, as was the fact the wind blew snow back onto streets as soon as they were plowed.

Stinson said three town snow removal pieces went down during the blizzard: A pick up truck with a blown blower motor, a dump truck with a bad plow piston and another vehicle which had its heater fail.

“One of the big issues was the cold,” Stinson explained. “We used two dozen sets of wiper blades because they kept freezing up and the windshields were too. There was a lot of downtime as we tried to get the blades to defrost or had to replace them.”

“The guys were working very hard on very little rest,” Stinson said. “Some of them worked between 30 and 39 hours straight, while some others worked 40 to 48 hours. Everyone on the DPW and all the contractors did an excellent job under some difficult conditions. I can’t thank them enough.”

And the work isn’t over. Some DPW employees, sent home last night at 11 p.m., were back today at 7 a.m. scraping streets and pushing back snowbanks to widen narrowed roads. After 11 a.m., a larger contingent of workers reported and will help with that work, as well as cutting down the height of snowbanks at intersections. Street corners are extremely dangerous to drivers, who are urged to drive slowly to avoid accidents. The town’s schools will also be prepared for a possible opening tomorrow and the Senior Center lot on Converse Street will be cleared. Within the next few nights, crews will remove snow from the Square, the Greenwood business district and other areas.

Stinson said his department will spend the next week plowing sidewalks, which may factor into a school-no school decision for tomorrow. Yesterday, Supt. of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike said the safety of children, their parents and staff are among the major factors in determining whether to cancel classes.

Rubbish collection was back on today after being suspended Tuesday. Tuesday trash will be collected today, Wednesday trash will be collected tomorrow and so on.

Food service personnel reported for work last night to prepare dinner for contractors, DPW employees, police, Municipal Gas and Light Department employees and other professionals out in the blizzard. Stinson said that meal had originally been planned as a lunch yesterday, but “we couldn’t let anyone stop plowing. That’s how much we had to do,” he added.

A small winter storm may bring a couple more inches of snow Thursday into Friday. A larger storm may be looming Sunday night into Monday.

In addition to trying to clear Wakefield’s streets, the DPW’s Water and Sewer Department put a quick fix on a broken Preston Street water main yesterday and were out to make a full repair today.

The storm buried the Boston area in more than two feet of snow and lashed it with howling winds that exceeded 70 mph. It punched a gaping hole in a seawall and swamped a vacant home in Marshfield and flipped a 110-foot replica of a Revolutionary War ship in Newport, R.I., snapping its mast and puncturing its hull.

“I had to jump out the window because the door only opens one way,” Chuck Beliveau said in the hard-hit central Massachusetts town of Westborough. “I felt like a kid again. When I was a kid, we’d burrow through snow drifts like moles.”

But signs of normalcy emerged: Boston’s public transit was running Wednesday and Amtrak trains to New York and Washington were rolling on a limited schedule. Flights began arriving at Logan International Airport, among the nation’s busiest air hubs, just after 8 a.m.

Bitter cold threatened to complicate efforts to clear clogged streets and restore power to more than 15,000 customers shivering in the dark, including the entire island of Nantucket. A 78 mph wind gust was reported there, and a 72 mph one on neighboring Martha’s Vineyard.

The low in Boston on Wednesday was expected to be 10 degrees, with a wind chill of minus 5. Forecasters warned that it won’t get above freezing for a week.

The Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor of more than 35 million people had braced for a paralyzing blast Monday evening and into Tuesday after forecasters warned of a storm of potentially historic proportions.

The weather lived up to its billing in New England and on New York’s Long Island, which also got clobbered.

In the New York City area, the snowfall wasn’t all that bad, falling short of a foot. By Tuesday morning, buses and subways were starting to run again and driving bans there and in New Jersey had been lifted.

The glancing blow left forecasters apologizing and politicians defending their near-total shutdown on travel. Some commuters grumbled but others sounded a better-safe-than-sorry note and even expressed sympathy for the weathermen.

National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said his agency should have done a better job of communicating the uncertainty in its forecast. But he also said the storm may in fact prove to be one of the biggest ever in some parts of Massachusetts.

Around New England, snowplows struggled to keep up and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. Snow blanketed Boston Common, where the Redcoats drilled during the Revolution, and drifts piled up against Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams agitated for rebellion against the British.

More than 24 inches of snow coated Boston’s Logan Airport, the sixth-highest in recorded history. The record is 27.6 inches in 2003. Worcester got 33.5 inches — the highest amount recorded since 1905 — and Auburn and Lunenburg each reported 36 inches.

Burrillville, R.I. got 26.5 inches. More than 20 inches piled up in Portland, Maine, and 33.5 inches in Thompson, Conn. Orient, on the eastern end of Long Island, got about 30 inches.

Two deaths, both on Long Island, were tied to the storm by police: a 17-year-old who crashed into a light pole while snow-tubing down a street and an 83-year-old man with dementia who was found dead in his backyard.

While Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey had been warned they could get 1 to 2 feet of snow, New York City received just under 10 inches and Philadelphia a mere inch or so. New Jersey got up to 10 inches.

National Weather Service forecaster Gary Szatkowski, of Mount Holly, N.J. tweeted an apology: “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right and we didn’t.”

The blizzard posed a test for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who took office three weeks ago, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who just finished his first year in office.

With the storm drawing near, the governor banned all non-essential travel and the mayor ordered city schools closed for two days.

“So far, so good,” Tufts University political science professor Jeffrey Berry said. “What’s important for a governor or a mayor is to appear to be in charge and to have a plan to finish up the job and to get the city and the state back to work.”


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In Washington, monuments that would typically be busy with tourists stood vacant. All mass transit in the capital was to be shut down through Sunday.

Seventeen-year-old Alex Cruz, helping a neighbor shovel snow Saturday in Silver Spring, Maryland, couldn't help but notice the emptiness.

"It's like living out in the middle of Wyoming," he said.

Throughout the region, drivers skidded off snowy, icy roads in accidents that killed several people Friday and Saturday. Those killed included a 4-year-old boy in North Carolina a Kentucky transportation worker who was plowing highways and a woman whose car plunged down a 300-foot embankment in Tennessee. Three people died while shoveling snow in Queens and Staten Island.

Jan. 23, 2016: A group of friends help push a car into a safe parking spot after it was stuck on a snow-covered road in Huntington, W.Va. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

An Ohio teenager sledding behind an all-terrain vehicle was hit by a truck and killed, and two people died of hypothermia in southwest Virginia. In North Carolina, a man whose car had veered off an icy-covered road was arrested on charges of killing a motorist who stopped to help.

In Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, drivers were marooned for hours in snow-choked highways.

Seaside towns in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland also had to deal with serve flooding. New Jersey shore towns seemed to have suffered through the brunt of the storm.

The first round of New Jersey flooding came with the Saturday morning tide. Water began overflowing into streets in some towns into Saturday night. A string of resort towns was temporarily isolated Saturday morning by floodwater that inundated homes and restaurants.

"A lot of properties have water in them. But it may not be until later Sunday that they can assess the damage," said Diane Wieland, a spokeswoman for Cape May County.

Gale warnings are in effect through Sunday morning along the North Carolina coast, the National Weather Service said, with winds of 30 mph expected along with rough seas.

Officials in New Jersey were assessing damage caused by the flooding. Firefighters went into a flooded area of Sea Isle City to battle a blaze at another restaurant that may have been linked to the high waters.

Stranded travelers included Defense Secretary Ash Carter, whose high-tech aircraft, the Doomsday Plane, couldn't land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland after returning from Europe. Carter was rerouted to Tampa, Florida.


New England Digs Out from Massive Blizzard

Millions in the U.S. Northeast on Wednesday started digging out from a powerful blizzard that dumped up to 3 feet of snow and led to coastal flooding around parts the region, while largely bypassing New York City.

BOSTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Millions in the U.S. Northeast on Wednesday started digging out from a powerful blizzard that dumped up to 3 feet of snow and led to coastal flooding around parts the region, while largely bypassing New York City.

Snow was forecast to continue falling in the area throughout the morning, although the National Weather Service had lifted blizzard and winter storm warnings across New England.

In Massachusetts, which was hit particularly hard, a record-breaking 34.5 inches (88 cm) of snow fell in Worcester, and the 24.4 inches (62 cm) at Boston's Logan International Airport approached record proportions, NWS officials said.

Massachusetts lifted a statewide driving ban at midnight on Tuesday (0500 GMT on Wednesday). Boston-area trains, buses and subways were set to resume normal service, although delays were predicted for the morning commute.

About 12,000 customers across the storm-hit region were still without power as of early Wednesday, according to local utilities, with the bulk of the outages on Massachusetts' Cape Cod and outlying islands.

On the resort island of Nantucket, more than half of homes and businesses had no electricity as of early Tuesday evening, and crews were working to restore it, Police Chief William Pittman said.

Storm-driven coastal flooding added to the state's woes as low-lying towns south of Boston grappled with rising water.

High tides breached a seawall in Marshfield, about 30 miles (50 km) south of Boston, and damaged 11 homes, several of which were condemned, police said. Police urged residents to evacuate.

ESCAPING THE BRUNT OF STORM

Further south, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut escaped the worst of the storm, despite dire predictions by meteorologists and officials.

Travel bans in those states were lifted on Tuesday, and New York City's subway system restarted after being closed for 10 hours.

The severe weather claimed the lives of at least two people. Police in Trumbull, Connecticut, said an 80-year-old man collapsed while shoveling snow and died on Tuesday at a nearby hospital.

Police said a teenager died late on Monday when he crashed into a lamppost as he was snow-tubing in the New York City suburb of Suffolk County, on the east end of Long Island, which had more than 2 feet of snow in places.

New Yorkers were divided on whether Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had overreacted ahead of the storm. Cuomo had ordered a travel ban on all roads in the southern part of the state, while the subway system closed for the first time in history due to snow.

"I have seen the consequences the other way," he said. "I would rather be in a situation where we say 'we got lucky.'"

The heaviest snowfall was recorded outside Boston, with 36 inches (91.4 cm) in the Massachusetts cities of Lunenburg, Hudson and Auburn, according to the NWS.


New Englanders Facing Snowy ‘Big Dig’ After Blizzard

New Englanders savaged by a blizzard packing knee-high snowfall and hurricane-force winds began digging out Wednesday, grudgingly praising forecasters who got grief from New Yorkers and others spared its full fury.

The storm buried the Boston area in more than 2 feet of snow and lashed it with howling winds that exceeded 70 mph. It punched a gaping hole in a seawall and swamped a vacant home in Marshfield, Massachusetts, and flipped a 110-foot replica of a Revolutionary War ship in Newport, Rhode Island, snapping its mast and puncturing its hull.

Boston is accustomed to big snowstorms, and with ample warning that a blizzard was coming, officials mobilized thousands of snowplows and called up the National Guard to ensure a speedy recovery.

“We’ve come out of this in relatively good shape,” Gov. Charlie Baker acknowledged Wednesday.

Morning commuters high-stepped their way through a warren of snowy paths and towering snowbanks that gave much of Massachusetts an almost alpine feel.

“I had to jump out the window because the door only opens one way,” Chuck Beliveau said in the hard-hit central town of Westborough. “I felt like a kid again. When I was a kid, we’d burrow through snow drifts like moles.”

But signs of normalcy emerged: Boston’s public transit was running and Amtrak trains to New York and Washington were rolling on a limited schedule. Flights began arriving at Logan International Airport, among the nation’s busiest air hubs, just after 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Although the Washington-Baltimore area was dealt only a glancing blow, dozens of flights were canceled and delayed Wednesday at the three major airports.

In Massachusetts, bitter cold threatened to complicate efforts to clear clogged streets and restore power to more than 15,000 customers shivering in the dark, including the entire island of Nantucket. A 78 mph wind gust was reported there, and a 72 mph one on neighboring Martha’s Vineyard.

The low in Boston on Wednesday was expected to be 10 degrees, with a wind chill of minus 5. Forecasters warned that it won’t get above freezing for a week, and more snow — though nothing major — was expected later in the week.

Around New England, snowplows struggled to keep up, and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. Snow blanketed Boston Common, where the Redcoats drilled during the Revolution, and drifts piled up against Faneuil Hall, where Samuel Adams agitated for rebellion against the British.

More than 24 inches of snow coated Boston’s airport, the sixth-highest in recorded history. The record is 27.6 inches in 2003. Worcester got 33.5 inches — the highest amount recorded since 1905 — and Auburn and Lunenburg each reported 36 inches.

Parts of the New Hampshire coastline got 31 inches. Burrillville, Rhode Island, got 26.5 inches. More than 20 inches piled up in Portland, Maine, and 33.5 inches in Thompson, Connecticut. Orient, on the eastern end of Long Island, got about 30 inches.

Two deaths, both on Long Island, were tied to the storm by police: a 17-year-old who crashed into a light pole while snow-tubing down a street and an 83-year-old man with dementia who was found dead in his backyard.

The Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor of more than 35 million people had braced for a paralyzing blast Monday evening and into Tuesday after forecasters warned of a storm of potentially historic proportions.

The weather lived up to its billing in New England and on New York’s Long Island, which also got clobbered.

Boston’s meteorologists were spot on: Forecasts warned the city would get more than 2 feet, and the National Weather Service said it got 24.4 inches.

“They actually got it right,” James Hansen said as he cleared a Boston sidewalk.

But while Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey had been warned they could get 1 to 2 feet of snow, New York City received just under 10 inches and Philadelphia a mere inch or so. New Jersey got up to 10 inches.

The glancing blow left forecasters apologizing and politicians defending their near-total shutdown on travel. Some commuters grumbled, but others sounded a better-safe-than-sorry note and even expressed sympathy for the weathermen.

National Weather Service forecaster Gary Szatkowski, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, tweeted an apology: “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his administration’s decision to prepare for the storm by closing roads amid forecasts of more than 2 feet of snow.

“You can’t put a price on safety,” he said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.

Associated Press writers Michelle R. Smith in Providence Rhode Island Amy Crawford in Westborough, Massachusetts Jennifer Peltz, Kiley Armstrong, Ula Ilnytzky and Verena Dobnik in New York Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey Jill Colvin in Jersey City, New Jersey Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Sean Carlin, Michael Sisak and Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia contributed to this report.


Contents

A High-pressure system with a maximum pressure of 1,052 hectopascals (31.1 inHg) moved ahead of the storm, moving eastward across Montana. A low-pressure system from the Pacific Ocean later came ashore over Northern California and crossed the Rocky Mountains, merging with an Alberta clipper low and a developing Texas low, drawing moisture from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The storm later intensified and moved northeast, tanked, and developed a long warm front stretching toward the New England states, and moving northeast along this jet stream track.

Lake effect snow events started over Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan from northeasterly winds. Following the predominant jet pattern, the storm developed a very rapid forward trajectory and began to migrate toward the lower Great Lakes. The heaviest snow fell in a wide swath from central Oklahoma to Illinois, Indiana and the Ohio Valley. An official blizzard warning was issued in Southern Ontario for the first time since 1993, although the Canadian definition changed in 2010. [34]

Canada Edit

Nova Scotia Edit

Because the storm dumped some 40 centimetres (16 in) of snow in parts of Nova Scotia, and winds up to some 50 km/h (31 mph) to some areas in eastern Canada, schools and businesses were closed on Thursday morning, the 3rd of February. [35] Lower Sackville near Halifax received 38 cm (15 in) of snow. [36]

New Brunswick Edit

Numerous school, bus and flight cancellations occurred in the province in preparation for the biggest winter storm during the winter of 2010–2011. [37] A barn roof collapsed during the storm in the community of Baie Verte. [38]

Ontario Edit

The storm dropped 20-30 centimetres of snow over Southern Ontario. [39] Hamilton saw more than 25 centimetres due to an intense Lake Effect band from the west end of Lake Ontario caused by an enhanced wind from the east-northeast, Toronto was spared more than was forecasted with 15 centimetres and a winter storm warning in effect. Areas from the Lake Huron shoreline east to London and Hamilton were under a Blizzard Warning. There were reports of thundersnow in Windsor, Ontario when the storm began to hit the region Tuesday night on February 1 the city and nearby Chatham-Kent [40] also declared a snow emergency, effectively enacting a parking ban to ease snowplow efforts, due to forecasted snow totals of 30+ centimetres, and the snow clean-up in the city is likely to cost $700,000 CAD, about 1.5 times more than normal. [41] The Toronto District School Board and Toronto Catholic District School Board closed all schools for the first time since the Blizzard of 1999, a controversial decision given the less than anticipated outcome and snowfall totals resulting from the storm. [42] Schools were also closed in the Windsor area and elsewhere. [43]

Quebec Edit

A traffic pile-up stretching three kilometres near Montreal, Quebec involving a school bus and many other vehicles sent 29 people to hospital for injuries. [44] [45] All schools in the Eastern Townships School Board near Sherbrooke were closed. [46]

Newfoundland Edit

Wind speeds exceeding 50 km/h (31 mph) hit areas near Clarenville and Bonavista, while schools in eastern parts of St. John's were closed. [36]

Mexico Edit

Chihuahua Edit

Northern Mexico suffered widespread infrastructure damage from the storm, and several weather-related deaths. [47] In Chihuahua City, the temperature dropped to −18 °C (−1 °F) [48] in Ciudad Juárez, which lies just across the border from El Paso, Texas, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, a regional state of emergency was declared Tuesday evening, just ahead of the cold weather system, with Mexican authorities urging citizens to stay indoors. Despite the snow and ice that developed across the borderland, the major International Bridges remained open during the blizzard. Additionally, to help ease the electricity crash across Texas due to the freezing weather, Mexican officials arranged for the transfer of 280 megawatts of power to the United States via utility hookups located in Nuevo Laredo (across from Laredo, Texas) and Piedras Negras, Coahuila (near Eagle Pass, Texas). [49] [50] The cold wave behind the storm's cold front left temperatures plunging to −18 °C (0 °F) in the Ciudad Juárez metropolitan area, and in the mountains area plunging to −23 °C (−9 °F), resulting in the deaths of at least six people in the coldest temperatures recorded in the area in at least half a century. [51] In addition, 35 animals died at a zoo, [52] and closures of schools and factories occurred in the city. [53]

On Wednesday, authorities in Juárez announced that convoys would be traveling out to remote regions and slum areas to ensure that citizens are warm and have the supplies they need to get through the next few days. On Thursday, Mexican officials suspended energy exports to Texas, citing cold weather damage at five power stations across Mexico that resulted in a total loss of 1,000 megawatts of electricity in Northern Mexico. Power stations in Mexico were able to meet the resulting energy demands in Northern Mexico, but could not spare additional electricity to aid Texas. [54] In Juarez, overnight temperatures in the single digits left 90% of the city without water service due to frozen pipes, and the failure of thermoelectric generators at a power station in Samalayuca, 30 miles south of Juarez, left citizens without power for roughly five hours. [55]

Nuevo León Edit

In Monterrey, Nuevo León's capital city, the cold air killed many trees and other types of tropical plants. Snow was observed in the high peaks in the mountains and the fountain in the main Alameda park got frozen overnight.

United States Edit

Connecticut Edit

Connecticut experienced up to 10 inches (25 cm) of snow and 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) ice accumulations, resulting in widespread tree damage and power outages. The additional snow and ice accumulation on top of several feet of snow prior to the storm led to roof collapses in Bethany, Waterbury, and Middletown. The West Rock Tunnel on the Wilbur Cross Parkway was closed for several hours due to accidents caused by slippery conditions, while service was disrupted on the Metro-North Railroad and at Bradley International Airport. [56] [57] The heavy snow caused at least 136 roof collapses of barns, greenhouses and other farm structures. [19]

Illinois Edit

In Chicago, in anticipation of the imminent blizzard conditions, 1,300 flights were canceled at O'Hare and Midway airports. [58] By 4:30pm, CST (22:30 GMT), the storm reached blizzard status with sustained winds exceeding 35 miles per hour (56 km/h), with white-out conditions being reported by spotters in the Old Town neighborhood on the city's North Side. [59] while Lake Shore Drive was temporarily shut down due to impassable conditions. [60] City officials said on February 2, that at least 900 cars and buses were stranded on Lake Shore Drive, with their drivers and passengers being trapped in some cases for as long as 12 hours (many drivers opting to stay with their cars in the false-fear of being ticketed for abandoning their vehicles instead of walking the short distance to the high-rise buildings lining the drive), but that closing the roadway earlier could have resulted in disastrous traffic conditions and possible accidents on other Chicago area streets. [61] Tow trucks began pulling cars from Lake Shore Drive on the evening of February 2, and moving them into six temporary lots for motorists who abandoned their vehicles to arrive and claim. The city of Chicago was unable to keep track of the license plates for each vehicle, which led to complaints from many drivers and by the time they located their vehicles, many were unable to retrieve them from the lots because they were parked bumper-to-bumper. [62] on February 3, the City of Chicago reopened Lake Shore Drive to traffic before rush hour. [61]

The Chicago Public Schools announced, on February 1, that some schools will be closed and some will still be open on the following day (Wednesday, February 2), which marked the first cancellation of classes district wide since the Blizzard of 1999. [63] Heavy snow and high sustained winds gusting in excess of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h), caused rail switches to freeze on the CTA's Red Line and blew a portion of the roof off Wrigley Field. [64] [65] Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago canceled classes Wednesday for the first time in over a decade due to the weather. [66] [67] Over 39,000 state workers were ordered not to come into work due to the weather this was the largest figure since a blizzard in 1979. [68] Mail service was stopped on Wednesday for six post office regions in Northern Illinois. [69] Amtrak train service out of Chicago was also canceled across Illinois on Wednesday. [70] [71]

In the central part of the state, numerous municipalities were all but shut down by the storm. On Monday, residents rushed to the stores to stock up on groceries, and numerous stores reported record sales. [72] On Tuesday, several school districts and universities pre-emptively canceled classes for Tuesday evening and all-day Wednesday. [73] Many school districts planned to close a second day in a row, on Thursday. [69] About 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) of snow fell Monday night. [74] Tuesday afternoon brought heavy snowfall and sustained 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) winds, with gusts of over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). Local government officials encouraged all businesses to close down, and local hospitals braced for the storm by preparing living and sleeping areas for essential personnel. [75] [76] Flights from area airports were canceled, and local officials repeatedly urged residents not to travel, since because of the whiteout conditions, snow plows had been taken off the roads. [76] [77] Interstate 80 was closed Tuesday night between Morris and Princeton. On Wednesday, I-290 and Illinois Route 53 were shut down from Lake Cook Road in Arlington Heights to St. Charles Road in Elmhurst. Forty vehicles were abandoned on Route 53. Parts of Interstate 57 were also shut down. The state police described most expressways as "impassable". [68] [78] 50 motorists stranded on Illinois Route 47 south of Huntley received assistance from a snowmobile club, while dozens of motorists had to be rescued on Illinois Route 72, west of Hampshire. [69] During the storm's peak on Tuesday night, more than 100,000 customers were without electricity across the state, including 79,000 ComEd customers across Northern Illinois and 35,800 Ameren customers in Central Illinois. [79] Several charities set up shelters for the homeless and those stranded by the blizzard, [80] and governor Pat Quinn mobilized 500 Illinois National Guard troops to help rescue stranded motorists. [81] Hundreds of motorists had been rescued off Interstates 290, 55, 57, and 80. In addition, over 80 traffic accidents were reported. [68]

11 snow-related deaths had been reported in Illinois by February 3. The body of an individual was recovered from Lake Michigan by Chicago Police. The pedestrian had reportedly been walking on a lake-front pathway when he had been blown into the lake by strong winds. In Grayslake, a man was killed in a crash while driving through the storm, while a woman in Mundelein died from hypothermia in her vehicle. A man in Chicago was also found dead in his home, which had no heat. In Barrington, a teacher died of a heart attack while leaving school on Tuesday. Five cardiac-related deaths from shoveling snow occurred in Lyons, Downers Grove, Mount Prospect, Carol Stream, and Glendale Heights. [23] [24] In rural LaSalle County, a man died while trying to walk through the storm after his vehicle was stranded on a rural road. [26]

21.2 inches (54 cm) of snow fell at Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, making this the third largest total snowfall in Chicago history, [78] after the infamous Chicago Blizzard of 1967, and the Blizzard of 1999. 24 inches (61 cm) fell at the 1 N Abingdon mesonet site in Knox County, in West Central Illinois. This was the largest snowfall in the history of the mesonet. Drifts of 10 to 15 feet also occurred. Snowfall rates exceeded 4 inches per hour for a few hours on Tuesday evening as well along with thunder and lightning.

Additional official snowfall totals included 20.9 inches (53 cm) at Chicago-Midway International Airport, 16.4 inches at the National Weather Service office in Romeoville, and 14.3 inches (36 cm) at Chicago Rockford International Airport. [82] The storm's highest total of 27 inches (69 cm) was reported in northwest suburban Roselle and Medinah, Illinois. [1] Peak gusts during the blizzard included 61 miles per hour (98 km/h) at O'Hare and 67 miles per hour (108 km/h) along the lakefront. [69]

Indiana Edit

Near Wheatfield, a teenage boy and a hitchhiker he picked up were killed during the blizzard when a semi crashed into the compact car they were driving in. [23] Central Indiana saw ice, followed by snow and high winds, which gusted over 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). A peak of 50,000 Duke Energy customers were without power due to the storm, including nearly half of the Purdue University campus at one point. [83] A 57-year-old South Haven resident collapsed and died after clearing snow from his driveway. The city of Indianapolis received nearly a half inch of ice from the blizzard, effectively paralyzing the city and leaving many without power.

Iowa Edit

Southeastern Iowa saw up to 18.5 inches (47 cm) of snow. The heaviest snow fell in the eastern half of the state. Des Moines fared slightly better, where only 6.5 inches (17 cm) fell. Some roads remained closed on Wednesday night, and over the course of the storm, state troopers responded to 151 accidents and assisted 428 motorists. [84]

Kansas Edit

In Kansas, 53 counties were declared disaster areas. Especially hard hit were eastern sections of the state, which saw over a foot of snow and whiteout conditions. Government offices and the state legislature were closed on Wednesday, but expected to reopen on Thursday. At least two deaths were blamed on the storm. [30] [85]

Maryland Edit

Baltimore received freezing rain during the day on 1 February, which changed to rain as temperatures rose on 2 February, and the overall icing in that region was less than expected. [86]

Massachusetts Edit

In Berkshire county snowfall amounts of 10 inches accumulated.

Michigan Edit

Missouri Edit

In Missouri, a state of emergency was declared by Governor Jay Nixon, who activated the Missouri National Guard. [89] On February 1, Interstate 70, which runs east–west from St. Louis to Kansas City, the entire width of Missouri, was closed by the Missouri Department of Transportation due to white-out conditions and increasing snowfall. It was the first time in Missouri history that any interstate was closed across the entire state.

Kansas City was under a blizzard warning for only the 2nd time since 1980, and only the 3rd time in its entire history. Columbia experienced the town's first blizzard warning with this storm in their history.

Many local school districts canceled classes, the University of Missouri shut down for an unprecedented three successive days. The University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri (which received 23 inches of snow, which in turn broke the all-time record for the town for snowfall in one day) was closed an unprecedented three days as well. A scheduled St. Louis Blues hockey game on February 1 was postponed until the 22nd. Areas of Missouri also reported significant sleet accumulation. In St. Louis, some MetroLink service was suspended due to ice on the rails. Several malls were closed due to ice in the parking lots. One person in central Missouri was killed during the storm. [90]

New Jersey Edit

In New Jersey, snow, rain and ice were all problems. In central New Jersey Ice storm warnings were put into effect. [91] In portions of northern New Jersey, the forecast called for 12 inches (30 cm) of snow and over 1 inch (2.5 cm) of ice. The roads were slippery and it was hard for cars to maneuver on the roadways. [ citation needed ]

New Mexico Edit

Up to 24 inches (61 cm) of snow fell in the Sangre de Cristo, and the Central Mountain Chain of New Mexico, while up to 6 inches fell in the Albuquerque Metro Area. The heaviest snowfall totals were 23 inches (58 cm) at the Santa Fe Ski Area, and 20 inches (51 cm)1 inch (2.5 cm) at Sandia Peak east of Albuquerque, Bonito Lake in Lincoln County, and Tres Ritos in Taos County. [92] A 180-mile stretch of Interstate 25 was closed between Las Cruces and Belen due to strong winds and blowing snow. [93] On Thursday evening, Governor Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency across southern New Mexico, due to the steadily decreasing natural gas supply brought about by the catastrophic failure of the El Paso Electric Company's power grid.

New York Edit

New York City received almost an inch of ice from freezing rain during the night of 1–2 February, causing public transportation on both bus routes and the Long Island Rail Road to be either delayed or shut down entirely. [94] One Long Island resident was killed by a fire sparked by cooking fuel during the storm. [95]

Ohio Edit

Ohio was on the warm sector of the low-pressure system. On the night of January 31-February 1, the Cleveland and Akron area received a Winter Storm Warning from the NWS Cleveland Field Office for snow and freezing rain. On Monday night 3–6 inches (7.6–15.2 cm) of snow fell during the pre-frontal warm front. During the overnight hours of February 1–2, as the center of low pressure moved from Missouri to lower Indiana, it carried a warm front, with warm air advection and a shallow cold air pool at the bottom. This led to freezing rain in parts of Northeast Ohio. In Canton ice accretion ranged from 0.5 to 0.75 inches (1.3 to 1.9 cm), which led to power lines and trees crashing, leaving almost 40,000 people without power. In the Greater Cleveland area, there was 0.1 inch of ice accretion and scattered outages in the Cleveland suburbs of North Royalton, where 2,000 people lost power, and also in parts of Garfield Heights and Maple Heights. Scattered outages were reported in other parts of the area.

The temperatures overnight went from 25 °F (−4 °C) at 7:00PM to 42 °F (6 °C) at 5:00 AM turning the freezing rain to liquid rain, and the NWS canceled the Winter Storm Warning earlier at 5:00. On Wednesday morning as the low moved to New England, cold air advected behind the low and temperatures had plummeted to the middle-20s Fahrenheit by 4:00 PM with Cleveland receiving 1–2 inches (2.5–5.1 cm) of snow and breezy conditions.

In the Dayton area, an Ohio Highway Trooper and his wife died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a running generator that built up gas in their home after the home lost power. [33]

Oklahoma Edit

The heavy snowfall, along with sleet and some freezing rain, began developing over Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle on the evening of January 31, with a state of emergency declared by Governor Mary Fallin earlier that day. [97] As a result of the emergency declaration, a state law prohibiting price increases of more than 10 percent on most goods and services during and for 30 days after an emergency declaration went into effect, and will remain in effect for 180 days after the declaration order for prices of repairs, remodeling and construction. The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma opened three shelters and one warming station for those stranded by the storm outdoors, the homeless, and those who lost power during the storm two in Oklahoma City, one in Norman and one in El Reno, with teams from the Oklahoma chapter of the American Red Cross placed on standby. [98] Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City and Tulsa International Airport were closed, with Will Rogers remaining closed for 20 hours [99] I-44 from Stroud to the Missouri state line, Interstate 40 near Okemah and westbound lanes of I-40 east of Henryetta were among many major highways closed, and the Indian Nation, Creek and Muskogee turnpikes were all either closed entirely or in stretches.

Most school districts in the state including the Oklahoma City and Tulsa public school districts, as well as most Oklahoma City government offices were shut down a day in advance of the storm. The United States Postal Service released a statement saying that it was attempting to make deliveries across the state but that "some areas may be undeliverable", due to the heavy snow and very low visibility mail delivery in Oklahoma City did not occur in most areas due to the conditions. [100] Temperatures across the state on February 1 and 2nd hovered in the single digits to mid-teens. Winds gusted to near 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) at times creating ground blizzard conditions across the eastern half of the state wind chill values dropped as low as −36 °F (−38 °C) in Boise City, the lowest recorded wind chill in the state since the deployment of the Oklahoma Mesonet. [101] Heavy snow caved in the roof of a building on the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complex in Tulsa containing a poker room and electronic casino games, the damage was confined to an area that was part of the original structure built in 1992. There was no one injured as a result of the roof collapse as no people were in the affected area at the time the hotel towers, a concert venue, a convention center, and retail operations at the complex were unaffected and remained open. [102] The Tulsa World newspaper canceled its print editions on February 2, 3 and 4, citing the heavy snowfall and hazardous road conditions that could compromise the safety of their newspaper carriers, making it the first time in the newspaper's 111-year history that the print edition had to be canceled however, the newspaper did continue to publish its electronic editions on its website. [103] [104] A section of a boat dock at the Tera Miranda Marina Resort on the Monkey Island arm of Grand Lake collapsed due to significant snow accumulations on its roof, destroying four boats valued at about $450,000. [105]

Will Rogers World Airport recorded an estimated 11.6 inches (29 cm) of snow, smashing the all-time daily snowfall record for February for Oklahoma City (the previous record was 6.5 inches (17 cm) on February 7, 1986). [27] Tulsa also set an all-time daily and monthly snowfall record for the storm that month, as the Tulsa International Airport received 14 inches (36 cm)14 inches of accumulated snowfall (the previous February snowfall record for the city of Tulsa was 10.5 inches (27 cm) in February 2003, and the previous record for snowfall in a single 24-hour period in Tulsa was 12.9 inches (33 cm) on March 8–9, 1994). [106] Owasso, Oklahoma received the most snowfall accumulation in Oklahoma with 21 inches (53 cm). Ironically days earlier on January 29, wildfires had burned parts of central and south-central Oklahoma, and ten central and south-central Oklahoma counties were placed under a burn ban due to very dry, wildfire-prone conditions. State Insurance Commissioner John Doak issued an emergency order to allow licensed claims adjustors outside of Oklahoma to help assess damages and losses from the storm for 90 days. [107] On February 2, Governor Fallin asked the White House to approve an emergency disaster declaration request for all 77 Oklahoma counties. In a statement by Fallin, state and local governments would receive 75% reimbursement for expenses associated with responding to the storm if the declaration is approved, including overtime costs, costs associated with operating shelters and clearing snow and ice-covered roads. [108] That evening, President Barack Obama granted Fallin's federal emergency request, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the state of Oklahoma. [109]

Oklahoma State University held its home basketball game on February 2 against the University of Missouri as scheduled, despite the difficulty the Missouri team had arriving in Stillwater due to the blizzard. As a result of the storm, the university provided free tickets to fans who were able to attend the game at Gallagher-Iba Arena, which Oklahoma State won in a 76-70 upset against the #15 Tigers. [110]

The storm system has caused at least three deaths in Oklahoma, one in a sledding accident and two in an auto crash. On February 1, a 20-year-old Oklahoma City woman died due to injuries suffered in a sledding accident near Lake Stanley Draper, in which the sled being pulled by a vehicle veered off the road, flinging the woman into a guardrail she was pronounced dead at the scene. [27] Two days later as slick road conditions continued across parts of the state, a truck carrying eight people ran off of a bridge and fell into the Spring River (which had been covered in ice), on I-44 in Ottawa County near Miami, killing two people one of two westbound lanes of I-44 was reopened to traffic the previous evening after blizzard conditions made it impassible. [32]

Pennsylvania Edit

In portions of Pennsylvania north of Philadelphia, ice storm warnings were put into effect. [111] The storm dropped several inches of sleet and snow in the Poconos and included a long period of freezing rain that produced ice accretions of up to half an inch in the Lehigh Valley and the Philadelphia suburbs. The ice tore down numerous tree limbs, trees, and subsequently, power lines.

Snowfall amounts Edit

Precipitation started as snow across the region during the early morning of the 1st. As warmer air moved in aloft, the precipitation changed to sleet and freezing rain by the morning rush in the local Philadelphia area, a mixture of sleet and freezing rain by the end of the morning commute in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley and a wintry mix late in the morning in the Poconos. Precipitation tapered off to mainly freezing drizzle during the afternoon and early evening of the 1st. Heavier precipitation moved in again during the evening of the 1st and fell as freezing rain in the Philadelphia suburbs, a mixture of sleet and freezing rain in Berks County and the Lehigh Valley and mainly a snow and sleet mixture in the Poconos. Overnight colder air moved in aloft in over the Poconos and precipitation changed back to all snow for a few hours. Toward sunrise on the 2nd, this process started to reverse at both the surface and aloft. Warmer air was moving north again and the freezing rain changed to plain rain across the Philadelphia suburbs and Berks County around 8 a.m. EST and the Lehigh Valley around 9 a.m. EST. In the Poconos, precipitation changed to freezing rain around 7 a.m. EST and ended as freezing rain around 11 a.m. EST on the 2nd. Representative snow and sleet accumulations included 5.4 inches (14 cm) in Tobyhanna (Monroe County), 5 inches (13 cm) in Pocono Summit (Monroe County), 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in Delaware Water Gap (Monroe County), 2.1 inches (5.3 cm) at the Lehigh Valley International Airport, 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in Albrightsville (Carbon County) and 1 inch (2.5 cm) in Easton and Martins Creek (Northampton County). Representative ice accretions included 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in Glenmoore (Chester County), Spring Mount (Montgomery County) and Emmaus (Lehigh County), 0.4 inches (1.0 cm) in East Nantmeal (Chester County) and Lansdale (Montgomery County), 0.38 inches (1.0 cm) in Kutztown (Berks County) and Allentown (Lehigh County), 0.33 inches (0.8 cm) in Feasterville (Bucks County) and 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) in Bangor (Northampton County).

Power outages Edit

Many trees still had snow on them from the winter storm of the previous week to exacerbate the damage. Nearly 300,000 power outages occurred. PECO Energy reported about 185,000 of its southeastern Pennsylvania customers lost power. Power was not completely restored to the last few until the afternoon of the 6th. Pennsylvania Power and Light reported about 79,000 of their customers lost power in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania while Metropolitan Edison reported around 14,000 of its customers lost power in Berks County. Numerous schools cancelled classes on both the 1st and 2nd. Recycling and garbage pick-ups were delayed. This winter storm added additional strains to snow removal budgets and tight salt supplies. Reading, Hamburg, Boyertown, Birdsboro, Barto, Bechtelsville and Douglassville all suffered power outages. In Bucks County, downed wires in Milford caused a basement fire in one home on Sleepy Hollow Road. In Montgomery County, the worst reported tree and ice damage occurred in Lansdale and Hatfield. A utility pole fire in Pottstown knocked out power to the borough's water treatment plant. There were over 100 reports of downed wires throughout Northampton County.

Travel Edit

In Northampton and Lehigh County, numerous crashes occurred on U.S. Route 22, Pennsylvania State Route 33 and Interstate 78. On Interstate 78, a driver swerved to avoid hitting a plow truck and was injured. In Bethlehem, a driver was injured after his vehicle rolled over on Schoenersville Road. Also in Bethlehem, a 100-foot section of a porch roof collapsed on the evening of the 2nd on Glendale Avenue from the weight of ice and snow. Three vehicles were damaged. In Berks County, Pennsylvania State Routes 345 (near Birdsboro) and 625 (south of Reading) were closed. In Chester County, there were several slip and fall injuries reported, mainly on the 1st. Just east of Exton, Northbound U.S. Route 202 was closed between Pennsylvania State Routes 30 and 401 because of an accident with injuries on the 2nd. Two roadways were closed because of downed trees and wires in North Coventry Township. One roadway was also closed in West Vincent Township.

Texas Edit

In Texas the storm caused widespread disruption of road and air traffic, including flights into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field. Rolling blackouts were instituted across the state as high demand for electricity left the power grid overloaded and unable to handle the demand. Governor Rick Perry asked for citizens to conserve as much electricity as they can to help ease the overloaded power grids. ERCOT, the governing body responsible for most of the electricity distribution in Texas, reported that more than 75% of the state was affected by rolling blackouts on February 2 at one point demand for energy was so great that utility companies began to purchase electricity off the national grids to meet the demand. Parts of Texas were expected to experience additional rolling blackouts Wednesday and Thursday as workers labor to get the electric systems back up and running. Post-analysis indicated that the cold temperatures had caused over 150 generators to encounter difficulties loss of supply, instrumentation failures, and gas well-head freezing were some of the source causes. [112]

Throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, multiple large school districts were closed for a record-setting 5 days in a row, letting students out a whole week because of road hazards due to ice and snow. An ice storm affected areas as far south as Houston behind the main storm front, while three men were killed near Houston in traffic accidents. [113] The storm adversely affected activities in the week leading up to Super Bowl XLV, which was played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. [114]

The storm caused a failure at a water treatment plant near Donna, Texas, prompting officials to issue a boil water advisory. [115]

In El Paso, Texas, the storm left major roadways slippery with ice and snow, and the abrupt demands placed on El Paso's utility services resulted in sporadic reports of loss of water and natural gas capability. Freezing temperatures resulted in the total failure of both of the city's natural gas power plants, resulting in rolling blackouts across the city. [116] The loss of power had a ripple effect across the region, as the power failure left water and gas utilities without the power needed to operate pumps to move the water and natural gas to customers. This resulted in the complete cancellation of activities at all area independent school districts and institutions of higher education on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday. In total, nearly 200,000 El Paso Electric customers went without power at some point as a result of the storm, while 1,200 Texas Gas Service customers went without gas. Over 157 water main breaks due to cold temperatures were reported to the El Paso Water Utilities, which when combined with the frozen water pumping equipment and abnormally high demand for water left El Paso water reservoirs dangerously low. Stage 2 mandatory water restrictions, which permit the use of water for drinking only, were implemented Monday night as the water utility worked to raise the water levels in the reservoirs, and on Wednesday the water restrictions were lifted. That same Wednesday it was announced that federal and state officials would conduct an investigation into El Paso Electric as a result of the spectacular failure of the utility during the blizzard.

Wisconsin Edit

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in 29 Wisconsin counties due to the snowstorm, and deployed 75 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers. [117] Early on February 2, the state's emergency management agency issued a Civil Danger Warning warning drivers completely off the roads at the risk of being stranded due to dangerous conditions forcing county plows, law enforcement and salters off the roads, [118] [119] a declaration distributed via NOAA Weather Radio's Emergency Alert System and local media outlets, and otherwise only issued for other major events such as terrorist attacks and water contamination emergencies. [120] The same warning was issued hours later completely disallowing travel within Lake County, Illinois. [121] Interstate 94 and Interstate 43 south of Milwaukee to the state line were both closed for a time due to dangerous conditions and many stranded vehicles.

Nearly all government buildings, schools, and public facilities were closed for February 2, 2011 in the southeastern region of the state, including Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan, and Madison, with Racine and Kenosha receiving the largest amount of snow, just shy of 24 inches. [122] Three people died of cardiac-related illnesses while clearing snow in Milwaukee. [29]

High winds Edit

Strong gale-force winds were expected in many areas, especially places northwest of the Appalachian Mountains. A storm warning for the entirety of Lake Michigan went up on 1 February, replacing an existing gale warning. Sustained winds of 39 to 55 mph (63 to 89 km/h) and gusts to 70 mph (110 km/h) or higher were reported over portions of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Lake Michigan for several hours at the height of the storm according to the National Weather Service.

Flash freeze Edit

Parts of Texas and Louisiana east to the Mississippi Valley and Florida Panhandle experienced or were to experience rapid drops in temperature and flash freeze events after the squall line moved through.

Storm surge Edit

Localized flooding occurred in northeastern Illinois, near the coast of Lake Michigan where strong winds brought storm surge and lakeshore flooding. [123]

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes Edit

Severe thunderstorms erupted in many areas of the Midwest and Southeastern United States. Thunderstorms accompanied both heavy rain and snow. Tornadoes were reported in Texas, [20] and a tornado watch was issued for parts of Alabama. [21] An EF1 tornado damaged two homes in Rusk County, Texas. [124]

Preparations Edit

Local governments ahead of the storm prepared residents on procedures to follow during the storm. This included parking and driving restrictions and preparation of road clearing equipment. Street clearing crews applied chemicals to the roadways to pre-melt ice and snow and checked equipment prior to the event. [125]

States of emergency Edit

A state of emergency was declared in several American states, including Illinois, [81] Oklahoma, and Missouri. [126]

Airport traffic Edit

At least 6,400 flight cancellations occurred across North America before the storm. [127] [128] [129] [130] [131] [132] [133] Impact was severe at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, as over 1,100 flights were canceled there. A less severe but still a major impact was at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto where about 300 of its 1,400 daily flights were canceled. [134]

By the end of February 2, at least 13,000 individual flight cancellations had taken place across North America. [135]

Power outages Edit

Many local and widespread power outages affected locations along the storm track, including in Illinois, [79] Ohio, [136] [137] [138] Oklahoma, [139] New Mexico, [140] Indiana, [141] Texas, [142] Colorado [143] and Kentucky. [138]

Impact on Super Bowl XLV Edit

The storm affected the Dallas, Texas area, bringing a coating of ice to the ground after a rapid freeze. This caused some damage ahead of Super Bowl XLV. [144] [145] [146] Snow falling from the roof of Cowboys Stadium caused several injuries. [147]


Verizon Closing Out Service Restorations After Blizzard of 2015

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Residents and businesses in the Northeast have their hands full as they dig out from a record snowfall that dropped up to three feet of powder in the region over the past two days. But Verizon customers, by and large, were in the clear.

The Blizzard of 2015 forced governors in several states to declare states of emergencies and driving bans due to localized flooding, impassible roads and high winds. However, most Verizon technicians were on the job, repairing downed poles and wires and restoring service for our customers.

In the snowiest areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, all of Verizon’s administrative and central offices remained open throughout the storm, and the network continued to operate without a hitch. In some areas where there were localized service outages -- such as southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket -- Verizon crews are working diligently and in cooperation with the respective municipal officials to get those customers back in service as quickly as possible.

“While we’re closing this one out, we have our eyes on the weather forecast for the next couple of days, as well.” --Allison Cole, president of operations for Verizon’s New England region

“We are fortunate to have such dedicated employees who braved some very nasty elements to keep our network up and running,” said Allison Cole, president of operations for Verizon’s New England region. “That doesn’t surprise me. Verizon has a long, proud history of battling through storms to provide service to our customers. While we’re closing this one out, we have our eyes on the weather forecast for the next couple of days, as well.”


After blizzard, New England begins big dig

By midday Saturday, the National Weather Service reported preliminary snowfall totals of 24.9 inches in Boston, or fifth on the city&rsquos all-time list. Bradley Airport near Hartford, Conn., got 22 inches, for the No. 2 spot in the record books there.

Concord, N.H., got 24 inches of snow, the second-highest amount on record and a few inches short of the reading from the great Blizzard of 1888.

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In New York, where Central Park recorded 11 inches, not even enough to make the Top 10 list, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city &ldquododged a bullet&rdquo and its streets were &ldquoin great shape.&rdquo The three major airports - LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, N.J. - were up and running by late morning after shutting down the evening before.

Most of the power outages were in Massachusetts, where more than 400,000 homes and businesses were left in the dark. Hours before midnight Saturday, about 344,000 customers remained without power. In Rhode Island, a peak of around 180,000 customers lost power, or about one-third of the state. Late night, the total was down to 130,000.

Connecticut crews had slowly whittled down the outage total to 31,000 from a high of about 38,000, and power was restored to nearly all of the more than 15,000 in Maine and New Hampshire who were left without lights after the storm hit.

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island imposed travel bans until 4 p.m. to keep cars off the road and let plows do their work, and the National Guard helped clear highways in Connecticut, where more than 240 auto accidents were reported. The Guardsmen rescued about 90 motorists, including a few who had hypothermia and were taken to hospitals.

On Long Island, which got more than 2 1/2 feet of snow, hundreds of drivers spent a cold and scary night stuck on the highways. Even snowplows got bogged down or were blocked by stuck cars, so emergency workers used snowmobiles to try to reach motorists, many of whom were still waiting to be rescued hours after the snow had stopped.

One of those who was rescued, Priscilla Arena, prayed as she waited, took out a sheet of loose-leaf paper and wrote what she thought might be her last words to her husband and children, ages 5 and 9. Among her advice: &ldquoRemember all the things that mommy taught you. Never say you hate someone you love.&rdquo

Richard Ebbrecht, a chiropractor, left his office in Brooklyn at 3 p.m. on Friday and headed for home in Middle Island, N.Y., but got stuck six or seven times on the Long Island Expressway and other roads.

&ldquoThere was a bunch of us Long Islanders. We were all helping each other, shoveling, pushing,&rdquo he said. He finally gave up and settled in for the night in his car just two miles from his destination. At 8 a.m., when it was light out, he walked home.

&ldquoI could run my car and keep the heat on and listen to the radio a little bit,&rdquo he said. &ldquoIt was very icy under my car. That&rsquos why my car is still there.&rdquo


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