Schools, offices close as long-lived storm clobbers US East
NEW YORK, NY – A seemingly endless winter storm that hindered travel across most of the country over the long holiday weekend is delivering a last wallop as it swoops through the Northeast, dumping heavy snow, shuttering hundreds of schools and bedeviling commuters in the region Monday.
The storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region late Sunday and Monday and could bring 10 to 24 inches (25 to 60 centimeters) total by Tuesday from Pennsylvania to Maine, forecasters said. Heavy snow was also expected in the Appalachian Mountains down to Tennessee and North Carolina.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged drivers to use caution during the Tuesday morning commute when the storm was expected to be at its height with snow falling at 1 to 2 inches an hour in some places. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said city schools were canceling classes and afterschool activities Tuesday.
“It’s moving very slowly, so the snow is just going to continue through the day,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Vogt said Monday.
By Monday afternoon, the storm had dropped 27 inches of snow in rural Delanson, New York, 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Albany — the highest snow total in the Northeast so far. Forecasters predict accumulations near 30 inches by Tuesday morning in parts of Vermont’s Green Mountains.
The same storm has pummeled the U.S. for days as it moved cross country, dumping heavy snow from California to the Midwest and inundating other areas with rain.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Monday for seven counties in eastern New York and assigned 300 National Guard members to assist with snow removal. State police had responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide since the snow started falling.
“We’re tough, we’ve seen it all, we can handle it all,” Cuomo said at a storm briefing before urging people to stay off the roads. He told nonessential state employees to stay home.
But some workers had no choice but to trudge through knee-high snow and brush off their cars before heading out on the slushy roads.
“I just hate driving in snow,” Kaia Jansson said as she raked snow off her car in Albany. “It’s always a mess and it’s cold and not fun.”
In Nashua, New Hampshire, Alana Kirkpatrick didn’t enjoy her 5 a.m. “workout,” which consisted of removing heaps of snow from her car.
“Why do I still live in New England?” she said.
Hundreds of schools were closed in advance of the region’s first significant storm of the season, a nor’easter so named because the winds typically come from the northeast.
“It’s going to be a long, difficult storm,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said.
At least four counties closed schools Monday in West Virginia, where 2 inches to a foot of snow was forecast. Closer to the heavily populated, coastal Interstate 95 corridor, a wintry mix was more likely. The National Park Service said parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and U.S. 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park were closed because of heavy snow predictions.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday at a news conference that the worst was still ahead. He closed state government for nonessential workers at noon.
Only 3 inches of snow was forecast for New York City, where schools were expected to remain open, and 5 inches for Philadelphia.
The National Weather Service on Monday predicted that the Boston area could get 7 inches of snow with lower amounts to the south and into Rhode Island and Connecticut. Communities north of Boston could see a foot in the storm expected to reach its peak Tuesday morning, snarling the morning commute.
Rowe in western Massachusetts received 16 inches of snow from the storm that started Sunday night.
More than 780 flights into or out of the U.S. were canceled Monday, with more than 5,600 delays, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware. Airports in the New York and Boston areas accounted for many of them. There were 950 cancelations and 8,800 delays on Sunday.
The storm also caused major traffic disruptions. Tractor-trailers were banned or lower speed limits put in place on stretches of highway in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
New York, where a bus carrying about 30 people collided with a tractor-trailer late Monday, also posted lower speed limits on some highways.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there were some injuries in the crash but that they don’t appear to be life-threatening.
Many buses from New York City to Pennsylvania and upstate destinations such as Ithaca and Binghamton were canceled.
A commuter ferry on its way to Boston, where it was rainy and windy Monday morning, hit a wave and listed heavily, sending some passengers to the floor. No injuries were reported.
The trouble began in the East on Sunday as the storm moved out of the Midwest after days of pummeling parts of the U.S.
Duluth, Minnesota, is still cleaning up more than 21 inches of snow that dropped over the weekend. Major highways reopened in Wyoming and Colorado after blizzard conditions and drifting snow blocked them.
Associated Press writers Michael Hill in Albany, New York, and Jeff McMillan in New York contributed to this story.
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