The San Juan Daily Star
Late-winter storm brings heavy snow and rain to the Northeast
By Jesús Jiménez and Michael Levenson
A late-winter storm dumped heavy, wet snow in parts of the Northeast on Tuesday, causing widespread power outages and dozens of flight disruptions.
The brunt of the storm appeared to be affecting a broad area in upstate New York, southern Vermont and northwestern Massachusetts, where 28 inches of snow had been recorded in Windsor, according to the National Weather Service. In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, southwest of Windsor, the police said there were downed power lines and felled trees throughout the area.
“If you don’t have to drive, can you please do us all a favor and not go out on the roads,” the Pittsfield Police Department said on Facebook. “We have wires down everywhere. We have trees down everywhere, and it’s not going to get any better.”
Two feet of snow had been recorded in Franklin County in northwest Massachusetts, and 11 inches of snow had been reported in southern New Hampshire, according to the weather service.
In Piseco, New York, in the southern Adirondacks, about 2.5 inches of snow fell in the span of an hour Tuesday, bringing snow depth to 31 inches, the weather service office in Albany, New York, said. In Vermont, more than 32 inches of snow had been reported in Marlboro, near the state line with Massachusetts, according to the weather service.
An additional 3 to 8 inches of snow were expected over portions of New York and New England into Wednesday, the weather service said, with more power outages and tree damage expected.
Joe Villani, a meteorologist with the service in Albany, said that the storm was producing wet snow, which can build up on power lines and trees, weighing them down and causing outages.
“Even this morning, having maybe 3 inches of snow in my driveway, it was extremely heavy to push and lift around,” Villani said. “This is really probably our one real, true nor’easter we’ve seen this entire winter season.”
More than 251,000 customers were without power as of Tuesday afternoon in parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Maine and Vermont, according to PowerOutage.us.
Dozens of flights were delayed or canceled Tuesday at airports across the Northeast, including La Guardia Airport in New York and Logan International Airport in Boston, according to FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.
A ground stop was temporarily issued Tuesday morning for some flights departing La Guardia Airport, and in upstate New York, a plane carrying dozens of passengers slid off the runway around 7:30 a.m. at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, authorities said.
Delta Air Lines said in a statement later Tuesday that the nose gear of one of its planes “exited the paved surface of a taxiway,” and it “was not an airplane skidding off a runaway.” The airline said that there were 58 travelers on the aircraft and five flight crew members, none of whom were injured.
The storm was tamer in portions of New Jersey, Connecticut and New York City, where either rain or light flurries fell.
“It will be difficult to get much more than a coating on the grassy surface for the NYC metro and the coast,” forecasters at the weather service in New York said Tuesday morning.
After mostly rain in the morning, snow flurries fell throughout the afternoon in midtown Manhattan, but the snowflakes largely melted on the streets.
Central Park had only recorded a trace amount of snow and 0.75 inches of rain, and Killingworth, Connecticut, recorded more than 3 inches of rain since Monday night, according to the weather service.
Snowfall was expected to taper off Tuesday night as the storm system moved east, but widespread minor coastal flooding and beach erosion were also possible before the storm slowly moved away from the New England coast on Wednesday, the weather service said.
Sara Porter, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, said that anyone driving in coastal regions of the state should be on the lookout for flooding as snow continued along with gusty winds.
“This is really a long-duration, multihazard event,” Porter said.
The storm caused other disruptions, such as canceled classes in several cities and closed state offices in Maine.
In New Hampshire, more than 50 towns postponed municipal elections that had been scheduled for Tuesday, according to the secretary of state’s office.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency that began at 8 p.m. Monday, allowing the state to deploy additional resources.
“This will be a dangerous storm,” Hochul said. “Please stay off the roads for your own safety. Stay in your homes.”
Hochul said that 100 National Guard troops had been mobilized to respond to emergencies and that additional utility crews had been called in, including some from Canada.
Boston was preparing for at least 4 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 55 mph. Mayor Michelle Wu said the city had asked construction companies to secure cranes and other heavy equipment.
Jon Mitchell, the mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, a port city about 60 miles south of Boston, said that crews were clearing catch basins to prevent rain and snow from pooling.
“The big issue, really, is the risk of flooding for us — and the wind gusts,” he said in an interview.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency that began at 8 p.m. Monday for Warren, Sussex, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties.
“Please, please, please be careful,” Murphy said at a news conference Monday. “If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out.”
Craig Hallstrom, regional president of electric operations for Eversource, a utility that serves Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, said that the storm was “so big” that it could stretch resources across the region.
He said the utility was closely tracking the rain-snow line and was particularly concerned that wind gusts of 40 mph were expected across Massachusetts, with even stronger gusts along the coast.
Hallstrom said Eversource, in looking to prepare, had called in hundreds of additional workers from other states.