By Gary Strauss, Doyle Rice and Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY
Snow began dumping on the Northeast Friday as 40 million residents in
the path of a monster storm braced for the worst by nightfall.
York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other
parts of New England were hunkered down for blinding snowstorms, heavy
winds, power outages and more than two feet of the white stuff in some
The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for
the New York City metro area, Connecticut and Rhode Island, eastern
Massachusetts and coastal sections of New Hampshire and Maine. Some
parts of New England should see the heaviest snow, while some coastal
areas could be lashed by hurricane-force winds of nearly 75 mph.
part of a new effort to name winter storms, the Weather Channel dubbed
the blizzard "Nemo." By mid afternoon, finding Nemo wasn't an issue:
snow was accumulating in Boston, Providence, Hartford, Worcester,
Concord, N.H., and Portland, which had already gotten more than 6
inches. The snow caused a 19-car, four-hour pileup on a I-295 near
Cumberland. Several people had minor injuries, police said. In Vermont,
which could get four to 16 inches of snow, the storm was being blamed
for a series of crashes on I-89 in Bolton and South Burlington.
than 4,500 flights in the region had been canceled through Saturday,
and Amtrak was suspending southbound service out of Boston and
northbound service out of New York City by Friday afternoon.n New York,
sleet was falling at LaGuardia and Newark airports. Another 240 flights
were canceled at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, where nearly a
foot of snow was forecast.
By 6 p.m. Friday, Wayne N.J., had
seven inches, Darien, CT., 6 inches and parts of the New York metro area
had received 2.5 inches. Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts
had already declared a state of emergency. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon as the storm intensified.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage sent state workers home at 3 p.m. and declared a
limited emergency to allow longer hours for utility crews.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick banned all traffic from roads after 4
p.m., believed to be the state's first such ban since the blizzard of
1978. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan asked residents to be off the
roads by 7 p.m., when the worst of the snowstorm is expected to hit the
About 1,200 were without power in Rhode Island, where
utility officials were warning customers to prepare for power outages
lasting for days. New England and New York were expected to take the
hardest hit, but others around the country could feel the ripple effect
from canceled flights trains and snarled traffic along the Eastern
Seaboard, parts which are still reeling from the fallout of October's
Northeast New Jersey was bracing for up to 14
inches. Parts of the coast were expected to see waves up to 12 feet and
minor to moderate flooding during high tide.
Residents of Brick Township and Toms River, both crippled by Sandy,were urged to evacuate Friday.
Mayor Cory Booker urged residents to prepare for widespread power
failures. Booker, a prolific Twitter user, urged his nearly 1.4 million
followers to get ready for the storm. "Nwk's City Snow Team is prepared
for 6-12 inches," he tweeted from @corybooker a couple minutes after 5
p.m. on Thursday. "We have many snow assets in reserve should storm get
worse. Please take time 2 prepare too."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the blizzard wasn't
expected to rival Sandy's fallout, but urged everyone to "stay in your
homes while the worst of the storm is upon us."
He urged New
Yorkers to leave work early and avoid commuting Friday evening, when
meteorologists predict the snowfall to intensify.
there were no immediate plans to declare a storm emergency, because that
would require vehicle owners to move them off emergency routes -
raising the potential some could get stuck and block snowplows.
Bloomberg did not order evacuations from low-lying areas, explaining
that storm surges were not expected to reach Sandy's disastrous
levels.Still, the city will have emergency shelters open and available
for anyone who needs assistance, he said.
About 1,700 city Department of Sanitation snowplows were ready to start clearing streets Friday evening.
New York City metro area, home to three airports and 20 million
residents in four states, was bracing for up to 12 inches of snow,
according to AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
is keeping residents informed through a 2-year old hyperlocal app
called Ping4, which sends localized alerts to mobile phones.
has the ability to send alerts only to phones within an affected
geographical area so that people are not pummeled with alerts that do
not affect them, said Jim Bender, founder and CEO of Ping4, based in
In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino said the city has
34,000 pounds of salt to treat icy roads. "Stay off the roads. Stay
home. Let the public works crews do their jobs," Merino said.
several businesses closed early to prepare for the winter storm,
Downtown Wine & Spirits in Somerville, Mass., prepared for one of
its busiest days this year. "The second most important thing besides
food is booze," said Downtown Wine & Spirits wine buyer Peter
With extra staff and beer, the liquor store remains
open for normal business hours unless there's a power outage, Powlovich
The storm isn't expected to have a major economic impact on
New England, said economist David Iaia of Lexington, Mass.-based IHS
"If everything just shuts down for a day, the vast
majority of business merely gets shifted to before the storm or after
the storm," Iaia said.
the storm's impact, every big U.S. airline has issued flexible
re-booking policies. The move allowed most fliers ticketed to fly to
airports in the storm's path to make one change to their flights without
the standard change fees.
With such a large number of
cancellations, the flight disruptions in New York and the Northeast are
all but certain to ripple through airports across the nation. A flight
from Houston to Los Angeles, for example, could become delayed or
canceled if the aircraft or crew scheduled to fly it gets knocked off
schedule because of problems in Boston or New York.
could be a top-10 storm for Boston: The most the city has ever received
from one snowstorm was on Feb. 17-18, 2003, when 27.5 inches fell,
according to weather service records.
Youngsters getting released
from school weren't the only ones rejoicing about the blizzard. Ski
resorts all over New England are excited about what could be the biggest
snowfall of the season: "If I had a tail, it would be wagging," says
Stowe Mountain Resort spokesman Mike Colbourn. "Presidents (Day) week is
next week, a big nor'easter - all of the stars are in alignment."
far as where the big ski areas are, we are at ground zero for this
storm - we are in the 24-inch band," says Bruce McCloy, director of
Marketing for Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, N.H., "We are so excited!
It's going to be awesome. How are we getting ready? We are dancing a
jig, and then after that, we are getting ready. We haven't had any big
storms in the past two years, so this is really big."
Melanie Eversley, Ben Mutzabaugh, Stephanie Haven; Alesha Williams,
Laura Petrecca, Natalie DiBlasio, TIm Mullaney; Associated Press