Chaos, delays as storm blows through East US
By Holly Ramer ,APCONCORD, New Hampshire -- A winter storm that has killed more than a dozen people across the eastern half of the country moved into the Northeast, trapping airliners in snow or mud and frustrating travelers still trying to return home after Christmas.
December 29, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
The storm, which was earlier blamed for at least 16 deaths farther south and west, brought plenty of wind, rain and snow to the Northeast on Thursday. Lights generally remained on and cars mostly stayed on the road, unlike many harder-hit places including Arkansas, where 200,000 homes and businesses lost power.
By Thursday afternoon, the precipitation had stopped in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts, though snow continued to fall in upstate New York and northern New England. Parts of snow-savvy New Hampshire expected as much as 18 inches (457 millimeters).
The Northeast's heaviest snowfall was in northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and inland sections of several New England states. The storm was expected to head into Canada on Friday, National Weather Service spokesman David Roth said.
While the East Coast's largest cities — New York, Philadelphia and Boston — saw mostly high winds and cold rain, other areas experienced a messy mix of rain and snow that slowed commuters and those still heading home from holiday trips. Some inbound flights were delayed in Philadelphia and New York's LaGuardia Airport, but the weather wasn't leading to delays at other major East Coast airports.
Forty-two students traveling to London and Dublin were stuck in the Nashville airport thanks to weather in the Northeast. The frustrated students, from universities in Tennessee and Kentucky, were supposed to leave Wednesday and arrive in London on Thursday.
Joe Woolley, spokesman for the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad, said he hopes he can get them there just one day late.
“It's a two-week program, so it's shortened already,” he said.
On New York's Long Island, a Southwest Airlines jet bound for Tampa, Florida, veered off a taxiway and got stuck in mud Thursday morning. Officials said there were no injuries to the 129 passengers and five crew members. Though the area received heavy rain overnight, Southwest spokesman Paul Flanigan said it was unclear whether that played a role.
In Pittsburgh, a flight that landed safely during the storm Wednesday night got stuck in several inches of snow on the tarmac for about two hours. The American Airlines flight arrived between 8 and 9 p.m. but then ran over a snow patch and got stuck.
In Arkansas, where two people died in a head-on collision, some of those who lost electricity could be without it for as long as a week because of snapped poles and wires after ice and 10 inches (254 millimeters) of snow coated power lines, said the state's largest utility, Entergy Arkansas. By Thursday evening, power to thousands of customers had been restored, but more than 135,000 homes and businesses remained in the dark, Entergy said.
Schools on break and workers taking holiday vacations meant that many people could avoid messy commutes, but those who had to travel were urged to avoid it.