News / USA

Heavy Snow, Dangerous Cold Snarl Travel in Northeastern US

Highway crews work to clear snow from roads in Henniker, New Hampshire, Jan. 2, 2014.
Highway crews work to clear snow from roads in Henniker, New Hampshire, Jan. 2, 2014.
Reuters
The first major winter storm of 2014 hit the northeastern United States on Thursday with heavy snow, dangerously low temperatures and strong winds that snarled travel just as many people were returning from holiday breaks.
 
The wide storm system stretches from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, with parts of New England including Boston bracing for as much as 14 inches (36 cm) of snow by Friday morning. Some cities along the storm's southern edge expect only minimal snowfall.
 
Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled, with Boston's Logan International Airport warning it expected takeoffs to end at about 8:30 p.m. (0130 GMT) and officials at New York area airports setting up cots for potential stranded travelers.
 
The snowfall was expected to intensify after sunset, with the heaviest accumulation coming overnight.
 
“The real action is going to get cranked up this evening and during the overnight hours. We'll have heavy snow, windy conditions, reduced visibilities,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.
 
Forecast snowfall varied widely, with Washington expected to see under an inch (2 cm), Philadelphia and New York 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm), Hartford 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm) and Boston 8 to 14 inches (20-36 cm).
 
Officials across the region urged residents to stay off roadways and planned to close some major highways in New York State beginning at midnight ET (0500 GMT).
 
“Tomorrow people should definitely consider staying in their homes if the storm continues as we expect,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “This is nothing to be trifled with. We have learned too well over the past few years the power of Mother Nature. We have seen the damage that has been done.”
 
Coastal flooding was forecast along low-lying parts of New England, with the risk greatest at high tide, near midnight.
 
The storm posed the first major challenge to the administration of New York's new mayor, Bill de Blasio. Problems from digging out from snowstorms have been political havoc for mayors in the United States' biggest city for decades.
 
“We have to get it right. There is no question,” de Blasio told reporters. “Before I even think of politics or anything else, this is our job.”

Flights snarled
 
The powerful storm forced about 1,807 U.S. flights to be canceled and about 4,536 delayed, with the worst-affected airports Chicago's O'Hare International and Newark's Liberty International Airport, according to FlightAware, a website which tracks air travel.
 
An American Airlines crew member sprays de-icing solution on a plane during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.An American Airlines crew member sprays de-icing solution on a plane during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.
x
An American Airlines crew member sprays de-icing solution on a plane during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.
An American Airlines crew member sprays de-icing solution on a plane during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.
New York's three major airports were preparing to accommodate stranded travelers whose flights were canceled.
 
“We have a few hundred cots at each of the airports should you decide to become an overnight guest,” said Thomas Bosco, an official with the Port Authority of New York and Jersey, at New York's LaGuardia Airport. The authority also runs Newark and John F. Kennedy International Airport.
 
One traveler worrying that his Friday flight out of Logan could be delayed or canceled was Ruben Raskin, 23, of San Jose, California, who was in the area visiting his girlfriend.
 
“It kind of reminds me why I moved to San Jose after going to college out here,” Raskin said.
 
Conditions in Boston were bad enough by afternoon that the “Frozen Fenway” winter carnival, featuring sledding and college ice-hockey at the baseball stadium where the Red Sox play, was canceled for Thursday and Friday.

‘Dangerous’ cold expected
 
The weather service said the mass of Arctic air would drop temperatures to levels 20 to 30 degrees below normal, with record lows possible on Friday.
 
A pedestrian shelters under an umbrella as he crosses the street during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.A pedestrian shelters under an umbrella as he crosses the street during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.
x
A pedestrian shelters under an umbrella as he crosses the street during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.
A pedestrian shelters under an umbrella as he crosses the street during a winter nor'easter snow storm in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Jan. 2, 2014.
“Temperatures are expected to plummet tonight and tomorrow with wind chills dropping as low as 25 degrees below zero [F/-32 C],” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. “That is a very dangerous set of circumstances.”
 
The low temperature in the contiguous United States on Wednesday was -47 Fahrenheit (-43 Celsius), reached in Van Buren, Maine, and tied in Babbitt and Embarrass, Minnesota, the weather service said.
 
Patrick told non-essential state workers to head home at 3 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) as did his counterparts in neighboring Connecticut. Both encouraged private-sector employers to consider releasing their staff early.
 
Slippery road conditions made driving a hazard in many storm-hit areas.
 
In Cleveland, Ohio, Chris Behm spent an hour trying to reach the vocational training center for developmentally disabled people where he works before calling the commute off and urging his 19 employees to stay home.
 
“It was terrible on all of the roads and there is more weather on its way,” Behm said. “It just wasn't worth it to open and possibly kill someone.”
 
Officials in Boston and Providence said schools would be closed on Friday, and in other districts throughout the region, parents were bracing for the possibility their children would be home on Friday.
 
“It's tough with these storms because I end up using days off that I don't want to take,” said Kristen Carson, who had taken the train into Manhattan from her home in suburban Montclair, New Jersey. “After the holiday, it's really kind of a pinch.”

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid