Huge Winter Storm Brings Snow And Hurricane-Force Winds To Eastern US



Frigid temperatures, some that could feel as cold as -30F (-34C), moved across the east coast on Friday as the region attempted to clean up from a massive winter storm that brought more than a foot of snow, hurricane-force winds and coastal flooding a day earlier.

At least seven people died in weather-related accidents under the storm.

Four people were killed in North Carolina and South Carolina after their vehicles ran off snow-covered roads, authorities said. 

Another fatality was reported near Philadelphia when a car could not stop at the bottom of a steep, snow-covered hill and slammed into a commuter train. A passenger in the vehicle was killed. No one on the train was hurt.

In Virginia, a girl was struck by a pickup truck while sledding and a 75-year-old man was hit by a snow plow while clearing business parking lots, authorities said. Both died at hospitals from their injuries, police said.

Forecasters predict strong winds and record-breaking cold air will sweep the region, from the mid-Atlantic to New England, and hang around through the weekend.

In northern New England, temperatures will be below zero. The high in Burlington, Vermont, on Saturday may only be -5F (-21C), said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

“This is chilly, chilly stuff,” said Hurley.

The Arctic blast could make temperatures feel as low as -15F to -25F from Philadelphia to Boston and make residents of states like Maryland and Virginia shiver from temperatures ranging from 10F to 15F.

The wind chill could make it feel like -35F in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, the NWS said.

The storm began days ago in the Gulf of Mexico and first struck the Florida Panhandle. By Thursday it was wreaking havoc as blizzard warnings and states of emergency went into effect along the eastern seaboard. Wind gusts hit more than 70mph in places and some areas saw as much as 18in (46cm) of snow.

The storm caused school and business closures, airline and rail service cancellations or reductions and thousands of utilities outages, many of them restored quickly. Some ferry services even had to be shut down along the Canadian coast.

In the south, the weather forced portable toilets to be put in place outside Mississippi’s Capitol after pipes burst and it caused iguanas to become sluggish and topple from trees in south Florida. Residents of south-east Georgia were treated to a rare half foot of snow (15cm).

In New England, powerful winds brought coastal flooding that reached historic levels in some communities with icy water overflowing piers, streets and restaurants and stranding some people who had to be rescued.

The only place where blizzard conditions were reported during Thursday’s storm, however, was Block Island, Rhode Island.

The south will not be spared, either. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia can expect temperatures around 15F to 20F (-7 to -9C), Hurley said. Northern Florida will be in the 20s to low 30s.

Sunday morning should bring the coldest temperatures from Portland, Maine, to Washington DC. “That’s when you’ll see records being challenged or broken, with temperatures at or near zero in many places,” Hurley said.

More seasonable weather is expected to return early next week with temperatures in the high 30s and near 40s, he said. For some, it will feel downright balmy.

SOURCE: ASSOCIATED PRESS

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