PHILADELPHIA - The second big, blustery storm to hit the Northeast in less than a week brought wet, heavy snow Wednesday to a corner of the country where tens of thousands of people were still waiting for the power to come back on from the previous bout.
The nor'easter closed schools, businesses and government offices, grounded thousands of flights and raised fears of another round of fallen trees and electrical outages as it made its way up the East Coast.
It also produced “thundersnow,” with flashes of lightning and booming thunder from the Philadelphia area to New York City.
“I don’t think I’m ready for this to happen again,” Caprice Dantzler, 32, said as she walked through Philadelphia’s snowy, rainy Rittenhouse Square. She said many trees that crashed into cars and homes and blocked streets during the last storm had yet to be removed.
A mix of snow and light rain fell before daybreak in many areas, then turned to all snow, making driving treacherous. Pennsylvania and New York banned big rigs from some major highways as officials warned of a hazardous evening commute and urged people to stay off the roads.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning into Thursday morning from the Philadelphia area through most of New England. Forecasters said Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the New York City area could get a foot or more of snow.
More than 2,400 flights across the region — about 1,900 in the New York metro area alone — were canceled as conditions deteriorated.
“I’m not looking forward to another round of this, but it is what it is,” Chris Martin said as he prepared to leave his Toms River, New Jersey, home and head to work at an information technology firm in Philadelphia. “All in all, it hasn’t been a terrible winter.”
Martin had already arranged to stay in Philadelphia overnight.
“If Mother Nature wants to give us one last blast of winter, that’s up to her,” he said.
Heavy, wet snow and gusting winds could take down trees already weakened by last Friday's storm and snap power lines, to the distress of customers who have gone days without power.
Utility workers took advantage of milder temperatures and sunshine Tuesday in their scramble to restore electricity around the Northeast. More than 90,000 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday, mostly in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Ten people were taken to hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator inside a home in North White Plains, New York, police said. All were expected to survive.
The storm dumped snow at a rate of 2 or 3 inches an hour, with some places in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the New York City area getting up to 10 inches by mid-afternoon.
Gusts of up to 60 mph were forecast on Cape Cod, 45 mph at the Jersey shore and 30 mph around suburban Philadelphia.
Amtrak canceled some train service, and commuter trains in Philadelphia and New Jersey were put on an abbreviated schedule.
School districts and municipal operations from Delaware to Connecticut closed. The governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania declared states of emergency.
Officials warned homeowners of the danger of heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow.
One slight consolation: The storm was not expected to bring coastal flooding like the one last week. Some New England and New Jersey shoreline communities were still dealing with the effects of that storm.