December 27, 2012

Deadly storm slams Northeast, stymies travelers

The Associated Press

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Snow is illuminated by a street light as an American flag blows in the wind during a winter storm Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in Paducah, Ky. An enormous storm system that brought snow and sleet to the nation's midsection -- and tornadoes to the Deep South -- is now moving its way toward the Northeast. (AP Photo/Stephen Lance Dennee)

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Murphy High School teacher Leland Howard tries to salvage items where his algebra classroom once stood in a temporary building at Murphy High School as residents clean up and assess the damage from a Christmas Day tornado Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. With only a handful of injuries and no deaths reported statewide from the storms, the head of the state's emergency response said it was difficult to fathom how the toll wasn't worse. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

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For more information about the storm expected to hit Maine this week, read David Epstein's The Maine Forecast blog.

Deaths from wind-toppled trees also were reported in Texas and Louisiana, but car crashes caused most of the fatalities. Two people were killed in Kentucky crashes, a New York man was killed after his pickup truck skidded on an icy road in northwest Pennsylvania, and an Ohio teenager died after losing control of her car and smashing into an oncoming snowplow.

In Arkansas, where two people died in a head-on collision, some of those who lost electricity could be without it for as long as a week because of snapped poles and wires after ice and 10 inches of snow coated power lines, said the state's largest utility, Entergy Arkansas.

Farther east, the storm knocked out power to more than 7,000 homes and businesses in Maryland, and utilities were preparing for more outages as the wind picked up. In New Jersey, gusts of more than 70 mph were recorded along the coast, and the weather service issued a flood warning for some coastal areas. There were about 800 power outages in Vermont, but only a handful in neighboring New Hampshire.

Schools on break and workers taking holiday vacations meant that many people could avoid messy commutes, but those who had to travel were urged to avoid it.

Few truckers were stopping into a TravelCenters of America truck stop in Willington, Conn., near the Massachusetts border early Thursday. Usually 20 to 30 an hour stop in overnight, but high winds and slushy roads had cut that to two to three people an hour.

"A lot of people are staying off the road," said Louis Zalewa, 31, who works there selling gasoline and staffing the store. "I think people are being smart."

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Additional Photos

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A street sign is bent at a severe angle from a Christmas Day tornado as residents clean up and assess the damage Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 in Mobile, Ala. With only a handful of injuries and no deaths reported statewide from the storms, the head of the state's emergency response said it was difficult to fathom how the toll wasn't worse. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

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Lightning flashes as another line of thunderstorms approaches a severely damaged home near McNeill, Miss. on Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. A Christmas Day twister outbreak left damage across the Deep South while holiday travelers in the nation's much colder midsection battled sometimes treacherous driving conditions from freezing rain and blizzard conditions. (AP Photo/Hattiesburg American, Ryan Moore)

AP

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Dauphin Street at North Carlen Street in the Midtown section of Mobile, Ala. is impassable after a tornado touched down Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. A Christmas Day twister outbreak left damage across the Deep South while holiday travelers in the nation's much colder midsection battled sometimes treacherous driving conditions from freezing rain and blizzard conditions. (AP Photo/AL.com, Mike Kittrell) MAGS OUT

AP



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