Winter storm closes schools, brings down government

By Associated Press

The start of the winter storm in heavy, wet snow sent a plane skidding off a runway and led to hundreds of school closures, canceled flights and thousands of power outages across the Northeast on Tuesday.

The storm’s track included parts of New England, northeastern New York, northeastern Pennsylvania, and northern New Jersey. Snow totals were expected to range from a few inches to several feet by Wednesday, depending on the area.

“This is shaping up to be a unique winter storm for our small state because there will be big differences in snowfall amounts depending on where you are,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who ordered the closure of all executive branch state offices. “Some cities may receive significant snowfall, while others may receive a fraction of that amount or even just rain.”

The storm in the Northeast came as California continued to deal with severe weather. There, crews rushed to repair a storm-swollen river on California’s central coast as another storm surge arrived this week that could engulf the state’s swampy farmland and farming communities.

A Delta Air Lines plane skidded off the runway on its way to New York’s Syracuse Airport on Tuesday morning. According to airport officials, the plane slid onto a grassy area along the runway, ejecting 61 passengers and returning to the terminal.

More than 400 flights to, from or within the United States were canceled on Tuesday, with airports in Boston and the New York area seeing the most flights, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

The National Weather Service reported 2 inches of snow per hour or higher in New York, the eastern Catskills through the Hudson Valley, the central Taconics and the Berkshires.

Wet, heavy snow snapped tree limbs and downed power lines across the New York metropolitan area, knocking out power to homes and businesses in the Albany area. Snow was especially heavy in New York’s Catskills, where some areas saw as much as 20 inches and more, according to the National Weather Service in Albany.

Snowfall will be one of the season’s highest, said meteorologist Andrew Orrison of the College Park, Maryland state weather service.

“This year has been below average for snowfall in the North East and so this nor’easter will be very impactful,” he said.

An Eversource contractor uses a fiberglass rod to replace a fuse that broke in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on March 14, 2023. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

While snow fell in higher elevations, authorities warned residents of coastal areas to watch out for possible flooding from heavy rains. The National Weather Service in New York said wind gusts could reach 50 mph across Long Island and lower Connecticut.

Rain turned to snow in parts of New England, with strong winds and power outages across the region. It was election day for city officials in New Hampshire, but more than 70 communities postponed voting because of the storm.

One community that did not delay voting was Londonderry, a city of about 24,000 in the southern part of the state that saw steady snow. Polling stations opened at 6 am and are due to close at 8 pm

Many voters chose to vote by absentee ballot Monday before the storm, said Town Moderator Jonathan Kipp. Some hard-working residents braved the elements.

“Some say: “Hey, this is New England, you know, what do you expect?” And others are not satisfied with the decision, but they left anyway,” he said.

In Connecticut, state government offices and courts are closed Tuesday.

The weather service said snow totals expected from the storm Wednesday ranged from a foot to 18 inches in higher elevations in Massachusetts to 4 to 6 inches in Boston. Higher elevations in southwestern New Hampshire could see up to 2 feet of snow, and Augusta, Maine, could see 8 inches to a foot.

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