NATIONAL NEWS

Hardy souls across New England and New York dig out after major winter storm

Mar 24, 2024, 9:20 AM | Updated: 6:32 pm

BOSTON (AP) — Thousands of hardy souls across New England spent Sunday digging out after a major weekend storm dumped more than two feet of snow in some areas, caused multiple road accidents, downed power lines and left hundreds of thousands across the Northeast in the dark, some perhaps for days.

Heavy snowfall from the storm stretched across the region, including upstate and northern New York through Vermont, New Hampshire, and most of Maine. Many areas saw totals of 8 inches to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) of snow, and some of the highest totals exceeded 30 inches (76 centimeters) in south central Vermont, said Zack Taylor, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

“So overall, it was a pretty significant winter storm and for some areas that was some of the most snow they’ve seen all winter with a single storm,” Taylor said.

The combination of sleet, freezing rain and heavy wet snow took down trees and power lines and was blamed for hundreds of delayed and canceled flights.

In New York City, floodwaters snarled subway service, closed part of the Cross Island Parkway and trapped motorists on flooded roads through Central Park, where more than 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) of rain fell. On Fifth Avenue, a giant tree fell down over several cars, prompting a road closure.

In Lodi, New Jersey, flooding from the Saddle River inundated nearby roads.

Central Maine Power, the state’s largest utility, said crews began clearing damage and fixing downed lines Sunday — but that it anticipated a multi-day effort in areas hit hardest by the storm. By late Sunday, about 170,000 customers were without power in Maine.

“Damage to trees, poles, and wires was significant overnight on Saturday, and our assessors are taking stock of the damage today so we can begin restoring power to our customers as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Jon Breed, from Central Maine Power.

Another 54,000 customers were without power in New Hampshire. In New York, more than 57,000 customers were without power late Sunday, down from more than 90,000 earlier in the day.

Areas north of New York City were among the hardest hit, according to online maps from National Grid and PowerOutage.us, a power outage tracking website.

The combination of sleet, freezing rain, and heavy wet snow that took down trees and power lines was also blamed for hundreds of delayed and canceled flights at area airports.

Police across the Northeast reported hundreds of traffic accidents as cars spun out and drivers grappled with icy roads, while Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston also saw heavy rain and flooding,

In Portland, Maine, city officials opened a warming center at the East End Community School for residents without power who needed a warm place to visit, charge electronics or sleep overnight from Sunday evening to Monday morning.

The New Hampshire Department of Safety announced Sunday it had activated an emergency operations center to help local communities clean clean up from the storm, including those with significant power outages.

Across the country in Southern California, heavy rain and quarter-sized hail fell in neighborhoods around Los Angeles. A 35-year-old woman was rescued after being swept away in the storm-swollen Los Angeles River, the LA Fire Department said. She was airlifted to a hospital with minor injuries and hypothermia, the department said. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued through Sunday afternoon, with the National Weather Service predicting lightning and wind gusts in mountain areas approaching 60 mph (97 kph).

The California storm was moving south from the Sierra Nevada, where areas around Lake Tahoe received about a foot (30 cm) of new snow and Mammoth Mountain reported up to 18 inches (45 cm) by Sunday morning. A day earlier, the resort was forced to close several ski lifts after a 91-mph (147-kph) wind gust was recorded.

Fans of cold weather — including skiers — reveled in the snow from coast to coast.

Kevin Bell, vice president of marketing for Loon Mountain in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, said the more snow New England gets, the better it is for ski resorts operating in the late season.

Taylor said another significant winter storm is developing in the West and will continue through Monday across much of the Rockies, the Plains and the upper Midwest. The National Weather Service warned of heavy snow and blizzard conditions for the northern Plains and Upper Midwest persisting to Tuesday.

That system is expected to bring heavy snowfall across portions of Wisconsin, Minnesota, much of the Dakotas and even down into Nebraska and western Kansas with the potential of 8 to 12 inches of snow, with higher amounts across the eastern Dakotas and portions of central Minnesota, Taylor said.

“We’re looking at a pretty strong area of low pressure that’ll develop across Kansas tonight and then quickly lift up toward the upper Midwest by late Monday into early Tuesday,” he said.

A winter weather advisory also was issued through Sunday night for parts of northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff to the New Mexico border with up to a half foot (15 centimeters) of snow possible at upper elevations and winds gusting to 40 mph (64 kph).

The weather service said snow showers were expected through Sunday night at elevations around 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1.5 to 1.8 kilometers).

Unsettled weather with additional rain and snow showers were forecast for the Flagstaff, Arizona, area Monday and Tuesday with another storm system potentially moving into northern Arizona next weekend.

___

Associated Press writers Phil Marcelo in East Meadow, New York; Julie Walker in New York City; Walter Berry in Phoenix; and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Hardy souls across New England and New York dig out after major winter storm