Friday, March 7, 2014
By Ron Todt And Mark Scolforo
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA – Commuters faced slick roads Friday after yet another winter storm brought snow and ice to the East Coast, leaving at least 24 people dead, including a pregnant woman struck by a mini-plow in New York City whose baby was then born by cesarean section and two Good Samaritans killed when they tried to aid a truck driver on a snow-covered interstate in North Carolina.
Liz Hall, of Albany, N.Y., digs her car out of snow in the Center Square neighborhood on Friday. Schools are closed across a swath of eastern New York from the mid-Hudson Valley to the Albany area as the region starts to dig out from 12 to 20 inches of snow dumped by the latest winter storm.
The Associated Press
Pedestrians walk along snow-covered Lark Street on Friday in Albany, N.Y.
The Associated Press
The latest winter storm to pummel the country was moving off the East Coast by Friday morning after slamming the Southeast with traffic jams and power outages and dropping a foot or more of snow on parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Yet another round of snow was forecast for parts of the region Saturday. A sampling of what the most recent storm brought:
IN THE DARK: About 1.2 million homes and businesses lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast. By Friday morning, almost 520,000 customers remained in the dark, the vast majority in South Carolina and Georgia.
TREACHEROUS TRAVEL: Lingering snow and ice made for a treacherous commute in many areas Friday morning. Christopher Ott, a district sales manager for a coffee-supply company, rose at 4 a.m. to dig out for the second time in two days, then drove more than 20 miles on snow-packed roads to a company warehouse – only to find the parking lot still buried in 15 inches of snow. In Georgia and the Carolinas, officials urged caution on roads still covered with snow, slush and ice.
The storm canceled thousands of flights across the country; by Friday morning, the number was down to about 1,200, according to the website FlightAware. Many of the region's airports, roads and businesses were reopening amid forecasts for a sunny Friday.
ADDING IT UP: As of early this month, Washington, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, New York and St. Louis had gotten roughly two or three times as much snow as they normally receive at this point in the season. Snow totals from the latest storm included 27 inches in Berne, N.Y., southeast of Albany; 8 inches in northern South Carolina; 11.5 inches in Worcester, Mass.; 11 inches in Philadelphia; nearly 9 inches in Washington; and nearly 10 inches in New York City. The normally temperate Atlanta area saw a total of 3 to 5 inches of frozen precipitation, including a quarter-inch or more of ice, 1 to 2 inches of sleet and 1 to 2 inches of snow.
MORE IN THE FORECAST: More snow, though "considerably less" than what happened earlier this week, is forecast by the National Weather Service from the central Appalachians to New England.
NOT SO LOVABLE: The latest round of dangerous weather threatened to disrupt deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers. "It's a godawful thing," said Mike Flood, owner of Falls Church Florist in Virginia. "We're going to lose money. There's no doubt about it." Aislinn Smith, owner of Edible Arrangements franchises in Poughkeepsie and Kingston, N.Y., rented four-wheel-drive vehicles to make her Valentine's deliveries.
A DEADLY TOLL: At least 21 deaths, most of them in traffic accidents, were blamed on the storm as it made its way across the South and up the coast. A pregnant woman in New York City was struck by a snow plow and killed. Her baby was delivered by cesarean section.
UPSIDE-DOWN WEATHER: While Northeast residents suffered through bitter cold yet again, temperatures reached into the mid-60s on Thursday at the Winter Games in Sochi and were expected to hit 63 on Friday. Russian officials say they have not needed to tap into their snow reserves on the mountain yet and all events are taking place on schedule.
The latest go-round of bad weather began overnight in some places – just in time to delay tens of thousands of deliveries of Valentine’s Day flowers – as snow, sleet and rain fell on roads already covered in many parts of the Northeast with deep puddles and icy patches.
Alexander Baez, 24, spent two hours digging out his car before navigating snow-covered roads to his job as a judicial marshal. “It will be a long, slow commute,” Baez said as he filled his tank at a gas station in East Hartford, Conn. “I can’t wait until the summer comes.”
Numerous traffic accidents involving multiple tractor-trailers and dozens of cars completely blocked one side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia on Friday morning and injured more than a dozen people. The crashes were reported about five hours after a storm that dropped a foot of snow finally moved out. Speed restrictions imposed during the storm had been lifted, but motorists say the roadway was very slick.
By the time it stopped falling, 22.5 inches of snow was reported in Somerset County, Pa. Parts of upstate New York got between 12 and 27 inches of snow.
The sloppy mix of snow and face-stinging sleet grounded more than 6,500 flights nationwide on Thursday and closed schools, businesses and government centers. About 1.2 million utility customers lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast, dropping to about 465,000 outages by Friday morning, mostly in South Carolina and Georgia.
“Every time it snows, it’s like, “Oh, not again,”’ said Randal DeIvernois of New Cumberland, Pa., which had about 10 inches of snow by midafternoon Thursday. “I didn’t get this much snow when I lived in Colorado.”
By Friday morning, the number of flight cancellations dropped to about 1,300 nationwide. Many schools remained closed in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York state, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia, while some in Rhode Island were opening late.
The treacherous weather was blamed for nearly two dozen deaths, many of them in motor vehicle accidents.
In North Carolina, two people were killed Thursday night when they tried to help the driver of tractor-trailer cab that spun out on a snow-covered Interstate 40 near Garner. Another driver faces second-degree murder and other charges in the hit-and-run wreck, the state Highway Patrol said.
In New York, 36-year-old Min Lin died after she was struck by a utility vehicle with a snowplow attached to it as it backed up outside a shopping center in Brooklyn. She was rushed by paramedics to a medical center, where her nearly full term, 6-pound, 6-ounce baby was delivered via cesarean section, hospital spokeswoman Eileen Tynion said.
The baby was in critical condition in the neonatal intensive care unit, she said.
No immediate charges were brought against the snowplow operator.
The snow, sleet and ice that bombarded the Southeast on Wednesday brought its ferocity into the Northeast a day later.
Washington, D.C., received 9 inches of snow Thursday, Westminster, Md., reported 19 inches, and Newark, Del., had 14 inches. New York City received nearly 10 inches, and parts of New Jersey had more than 11.
In New York, the teachers union and TV weatherman Al Roker harshly criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision Thursday to keep schools open. Roker, who was in Russia for the Winter Olympics but has a daughter in New York’s public schools, said on Twitter: “It’s going to take some kid or kids getting hurt before this goofball policy gets changed.”
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