Winter storm wallops northeastern U.S., foot of snow expected

Express News Global

U.S. | Thu Feb 9, 2017 | 10:02am EST
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By Scott Malone and Gina Cherelus | BOSTON/NEW YORK

A fast-moving snowstorm barreled through the northeastern United States on Thursday, stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine and threatening to drop a foot (30 cm) or more of snow on major cities including New York, Boston and Hartford, Connecticut.

Forecasters also warned the storm would bring winds gusting to 50 miles per hour (80 kph) and periods of “thunder snow,” which could drop as much as 4 inches (10 cm) of snow per hour, making travel extremely dangerous.

“Right now for the Boston metro area we’re looking at 12 to 16 inches (30-41 cm) by the time everything is said and done,” said Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts, noting that the snowfall was expected to continue into the evening rush hour.

“Travel is going to be extremely dangerous. When it comes down at 2 to 3 inches per hour it’s hard for the plows to keep up.”

It was the heaviest snowfall the heavily populated region has seen so far this year.

Many schools systems, including the nation’s largest in New York City with more than 1 million students, were closed, as were those in Boston and Philadelphia.

Many government offices were shuttered with the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut ordering non-emergency workers to stay home. Maine’s state legislature suspended operations for the day.

Flights were snarled, with more than half of the flights into or out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Newark International Airport in New Jersey and Boston Logan International airport canceled. Nationwide some 2,903 flights were canceled, according to

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said at a morning briefing that he had seen a burst of fast-falling “thundersnow,” a violent burst of weather featuring both snow and lightning.

“We urge people to stay indoors and don’t get in your car unless you absolutely have to,” Malloy said.

Blizzard warnings were in effect for the New York’s Long Island suburbs, Cape Cod, Massachusetts and the island of Nantucket.

Temperatures were expected to fall to single-digit Fahrenheit levels (below -12.8 C) overnight in the Boston area.

The storm was a case of weather whiplash, coming a day after the northeast saw spring-like weather, with temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees (10 to 16C).

A day earlier, New England highways were clogged with scores of car crashes after an early rain storm coated roads in ice. One person was killed in Massachusetts.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Larry King and Bill Trott)