January 22

Snowstorm blasts much of Northeast

The snow comes down harder and faster than many expected. A blizzard warning is issued for parts of New England.

By Kathy Matheson And Michael Rubinkam
The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A swirling storm clobbered parts of the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday, dumping nearly a foot and a half of snow, grounding thousands of flights, closing government offices in the nation's capital and making a mess of the evening commute.

click image to enlarge

Dave Lewis of the Wilkes-Barre City Operations Department clears a sidewalk on North Washington Street, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Tuesday’s storm with public schools closed in parts of central Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

AP Photo/The Citizens’ Voice, Mark Moran

click image to enlarge

A pedestrian’s umbrellas is upset during a winter snowstorm Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. A storm is sweeping across the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The National Weather Service said the storm could bring 8 to 12 inches of snow to Philadelphia and New York City, and more than a foot in Boston.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

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FOR DETAILED Maine weather information, read The Maine Forecast blog.

The storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts but hit especially hard along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, creating perilous rides home for millions of motorists.

The National Weather Service said Manalapan, N.J., got 15.5 inches of snow, Philadelphia got slightly more than a foot and Brookhaven, near Philadelphia's airport, got 15. It said parts of New York City had 10 inches.

The snow came down harder and faster than many people expected. A blizzard warning was posted for parts of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod.

Highways in the New York City metropolitan area were jammed, and blowing snow tripled or even quadrupled drive times.

"I just want to get to the Bronx," motorist Peter Neuwens lamented. "It's a big place. Why can't I get there?"

In Jersey City, N.J., Stanley Gaines, wearing just a thin jacket and huddling beneath an overhang as snow stung his face, said he had been stuck for more than an hour waiting for a ride home from his appointment at a Veterans Affairs clinic.

"I'm waiting on anything I can get: a taxi, a shuttle, a bus," Gaines said, squinting to read the destination on an approaching bus in near white-out conditions. "I didn't really pay attention to the weather this morning because there was no snow on the ground, and now — this!"

In White Plains, N.Y., Anthony Schirrone pulled over his car to scrape snow from the windshield.

"I just did this five minutes ago," he said. "But it's coming down too fast."

Parts of New England saw initial light snowfalls turn heavier as the night wore on. Foxboro, Mass., and Providence, R.I., each received about 11 inches of snow, and Stamford, Conn., got 9. Forecasters said the storm could be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in.

In Maryland, 11 inches had accumulated in Northeast Heights. The storm was blamed for at least one death in the state, that of a driver whose car fishtailed into the path of a tractor-trailer on a snow-covered road 50 miles northwest of Baltimore. And police said the storm might have claimed more lives: A preliminary investigation showed wet conditions played a role in a two-vehicle crash that killed two people in Prince George's County, Md.

The storm was a conventional one that developed off the coast and moved its way up the Eastern Seaboard, pulling in cold air from the arctic. Unlike the epic freeze of two weeks ago, it wasn't caused by a kink in the polar vortex, the winds that circulate around the North Pole.

Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation said it had already blown through more than half of its $189 million winter weather budget.

"Lots of nuisance storms this season have meant that PennDOT crews have been plowing and treating roads more frequently this winter," spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.

This second fierce blast of winter weather is sapping fuel supplies in many regions in the U.S. and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Customers who heat with natural gas or electricity probably won't see dramatically higher prices, in part because utilities typically buy their fuel under longer-term contracts at set prices. But propane customers who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill-up than they did a month ago.

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