New England commences big dig-out after epic snow
By Michelle R. Smith and Jay Lindsay, APPROVIDENCE, Rhode Island--New Englanders began the back-breaking job of digging out from as much as 3 feet (1 meter) of snow and emergency crews used snowmobiles to reach shivering motorists stranded overnight on New York's Long Island after a howling storm swept through the Northeast.
February 11, 2013, 12:52 am TWN
At least eight deaths were blamed on the storm, including three in Canada.
About 475,000 homes and businesses remained without power late Saturday night, down from a peak of about 650,000, and some could be cold and dark for days. Roads across the New York-to-Boston corridor of roughly 25 million people were impassable. Cars were entombed by drifts.
At least five deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the overnight snowstorm, including an 11-year-old boy in Boston who was overcome by carbon monoxide as he sat in a running car to keep warm while his father shoveled Saturday morning.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee cautioned that while the snow had stopped, the danger hadn't passed: “People need to take this storm seriously, even after it's over. If you have any kind of heart condition, be careful with the shoveling.”
Blowing with hurricane-force winds of more than 80 mph (128 kph) in places, the storm hit hard along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between New York City and Maine. Milford, Connecticut, got 38 inches (96 centimeters) of snow, and Portland, Maine, recorded 31.9 inches (81 centimeters), shattering a 1979 record. Several communities in New York and across New England got more than 2 feet (.61 meters).
Still, the storm was not as bad as some of the forecasts led many to fear, and not as dire as the Blizzard of '78, used by longtime New Englanders as the benchmark by which all other winter storms are measured.
By midday Saturday, the National Weather Service reported preliminary snowfall totals of 24.9 inches (63 centimeters) in Boston, or fifth on the city's all-time list. Bradley Airport near Hartford, Connecticut, got 22 inches (56 centimeters), for the No. 2 spot in the record books there.
Concord, New Hampshire, got 24 inches (61 centimeters) of snow, the second-highest amount on record and a few inches short of the reading from the great Blizzard of 1888.
In New York, where Central Park recorded 11 inches (28 centimeters), not even enough to make the Top 10 list, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city “dodged a bullet” and its streets were “in great shape.” The three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, New Jersey — were up and running by late morning after shutting down the evening before.
Most of the power outages were in Massachusetts, where more than 400,000 homes and businesses were left in the dark. In Rhode Island, a peak of around 180,000 customers lost power, or about one-third of the state.
By nightfall, utility crews had started to make significant progress in restoring power and bringing those numbers down.