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Massive Winter Storm Hits Northeastern US

  • Reuters

A winter storm that froze the U.S. southeast in its tracks Wednesday pushed north on Thursday, with driving winds and heavy snow snarling travel and closing many schools.

More than 700,000 people from Florida to New Jersey, including residents of Georgia and South Carolina hit by the heavy blast of ice a day earlier, were without power as the storm made its way up the coast and threatened to drop up to 18 inches (45 cm) of snow in some areas.

About 6,349 U.S flights were canceled and another 2,396 were delayed with Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport the hardest hit, said flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.

About 1,000 people spent the night on cots and mats at the Charlotte airport in North Carolina. Across the state in Durham, motorists stuck in traffic that resembled the gridlock mess in Atlanta two weeks ago found refuge for the night at a shopping mall.

The storm system, which has dumped heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain from eastern Texas to the Carolinas since Tuesday, was blamed for at least 15 deaths in the South.

In New York, a pregnant 36-year-old woman was killed by a private snow plow in a parking lot in Brooklyn, said police spokeswoman Sergeant Jessica McRorie. Doctors at a nearby hospital were trying to save the baby.

There were extensive bus service cancellations in Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Philadelphia. Federal offices in Washington, and state offices in Connecticut and western Massachusetts were closed. Rhode Island's state legislature called off its sessions for the day.

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