NATIONAL NEWS

Snow in the West and flooding in the Northeast. And more foul weather is on the way

Jan 9, 2024, 10:26 PM | Updated: Jan 10, 2024, 5:32 pm

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Drenching rains, flooding and fierce winds stranded vehicles, shuttered schools and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in the Northeast, the swan song of a bout of violent weather that battered most of the United States. Forecasters warned Wednesday that more misery was not far behind.

The storm hit the Northeast on Tuesday night and moved out Wednesday after toppling trees, downing power lines, and forcing water rescues on flooded or washed-out roads.

Wind gusts reached as high as 95 mph (153 kph) in Maine, and blustery weather continued Wednesday. Philadelphia, which sits on the Delaware River upstream from the Atlantic Ocean, experienced its highest storm surge on record.

Another storm could bring heavy rain and high winds to the Northeast from Friday night into Saturday, forecasters said.

The region’s woes followed a day of tornadoes and deadly accidents in the South and blizzards in the Midwest and Northwest. In some parts of the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies, more than 2 feet (about 75 centimeters) of snow fell. Bone-chilling cold promised to follow in some areas, and an avalanche in California killed at least one person as a new storm rolled in.

Hundreds of thousands of customers lost power at some point as storms swept the country. At least 250,000 customers remained without power Wednesday afternoon on both coasts and in parts of the Midwest, with New York and Pennsylvania leading the count, according to PowerOutage.us.

Nearly 700 flights were canceled across the country Wednesday, according to FlightAware.com.

The effects of the storm by region, and what’s still to come:

NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA

A couple of Pennsylvania communities got more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain, and others came close. Emergency responders rescued some drivers as low-lying roads flooded.

In Lower Macungie, outside Allentown, a Mercedes remained in the middle of a now-dry two-lane road Wednesday afternoon, its owner having yet to retrieve it. An orange cone, a sign that rescuers had cleared the car, sat atop it. All told, first responders rescued four motorists in the bedroom community.

“It’s a common occurrence that when we have the heavy rains and the flooding occurs, and we shut down these roads, that some people choose to take their chances,” said Lower Macungie Fire Chief David Nosal. “And some make it through, some don’t, and those that don’t end up calling 911, and then we have to go out and retrieve them.”

The storm surge at Philadelphia was the highest in records dating to 1900, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections. The storm flooded roads, uprooted trees and cut power.

The previous high surge came during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“Coastal flooding is accelerating and will continue to do so because sea level rise is accelerating, as well,” Masters said.

In New Jersey, roads flooded and rivers rose after some up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain fell on ground already saturated by another storm a few weeks ago.

Lou DeFazio, 65, of Manville, lives steps from the Millstone River, which flooded disastrously in 2021 in the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” he said as the river swelled Wednesday.

In New York’s Nassau County, on Long Island, cars sloshed through water in the streets of Freeport. Farther east, near the Hamptons, flooding was reported at Shinnecock Bay. Several schools across Long Island canceled or delayed classes.

New York City officials evacuated nearly 2,000 migrants housed at a sprawling tent complex in Brooklyn amid fears high winds could collapse it. Families slept on the floor of a high school. The migrants returned to the complex early Wednesday after winds eased.

NEW ENGLAND AND CANADA

Winds gusted to 95 mph (153 kph) at Maine’s Isle au Haut, an island in Penobscot Bay, said Jon Palmer, of the National Weather Service.

Winds pushed a parked but empty Southwest Airlines plane into a jet bridge early Wednesday at Portland International Jetport, Maine’s largest airport, officials said. No one was hurt, but a wing was damaged and a new aircraft was sent to operate the flight.

The storm canceled events and government functions in Maine, where some areas were still recovering from a snowstorm over the weekend and flooding the previous month. In a parking lot at a Portland wharf, lobstermen used pumps in an attempt to thwart floodwaters.

The storm caused severe coastal flooding at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, with police discouraging people from getting too close to the surf. Hampton Beach’s Ocean Boulevard was temporarily closed, and residents were told to shelter in place as the surf crashed over sea walls.

Water surrounded entire neighborhoods and made roads impassable, and a shelter was set up in Hampton. No injuries were reported.

A dam breach in Connecticut brought evacuation orders along the Yantic River in Norwich. It was lifted hours later after the dam was deemed not in danger of failing. A power substation that had been shut down, cutting electricity to 5,000 customers, was being brought back online.

Later, another Connecticut dam — Pameacha Pond Dam in Middletown — experienced a partial breach as a result of flooding from Tuesday’s storm. The state Department of Public Works says no businesses or homes were affected.

In Vermont, winds gusted to 70 mph, and rain followed heavy, wet snow. Many schools closed or delayed classes.

The storm also hit Atlantic Canada with snow, rain, and high winds and waves, closing schools and cutting power to thousands in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

WEST

An avalanche at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort in California killed one person Wednesday and injured three others as a major storm with snow and wind gusts moved into the region, officials said. One The resort was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

The storm is expected to bring as much as 2 feet (61 cm) of snow to the highest elevations in the Sierra Nevada by Thursday. The National Weather Service issued a rare snow squall warning as night fell Wednesday east of Reno, Nevada, with as much as 2 inches (5 cm) of snow per hour possible in some areas.

Storms in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains had already dumped 29 inches (74 centimeters) at Stevens Pass in Washington and 30 inches (76 centimeters) outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities issued warnings for very dangerous avalanche conditions in mountainous areas of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington and Oregon. Backcountry travelers were advised to stay away from steep slopes.

In parts of northern Montana, temperatures could drop below minus 30 (minus 34 Celsius) by Saturday morning. High temperatures were expected to remain below freezing as far south as Oklahoma.

MIDWEST

Slushy highways led to fatal collisions in Wisconsin and another in Michigan.

The storm, which began Monday, buried cities across the Midwest, stranding people on highways. Some areas saw up to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow on Monday, including Kansas, eastern Nebraska and South Dakota, western Iowa, and southwestern Minnesota.

Madison, Wisconsin, expected much as 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow and 40 mph (64 kph) winds.

The weather has already affected campaigning for Iowa’s Jan. 15 precinct caucuses, where the snow is expected to be followed by frigid temperatures that could drift below zero degrees (minus 18 Celsius).

Forecasters warned of dangerous temperatures and windchills in the Midwest and Plains dipping to minus 20 (29 Celsius) or lower in Chicago, Kansas City and some areas of Montana.

SOUTH

Several deaths have been blamed on heavy rain, hail and wind, including possible tornadoes. Roofs were blown off homes, and furniture, fences and debris were strewn about.

An 81-year-old woman in Alabama was killed when her mobile home was tossed from its foundation by a suspected tornado. A man died south of Atlanta when a tree fell on his car. Another person died in North Carolina in a suspected tornado.

Some areas of Florida were cautioned about streams and rivers flooding Wednesday afternoon. Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency for dozens of counties in North Florida.

Rescuers in Virginia pulled two people from floodwaters, where they clung to branches after their vehicle flooded and they were swept from its roof, according to Albemarle County Fire Rescue. They weren’t injured and were in the water for at least 10 minutes.

___

McFetridge reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Patrick Whittle and David Sharp in Portland, Maine; Michael Rubinkam and Jeff McMillan in northeastern Pennsylvania; Sarah Brumfield in Silver Spring, Maryland; Matthew Brown in Billings, Montana; and Dave Collins and Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Snow in the West and flooding in the Northeast. And more foul weather is on the way