Nor’easter hammers the East Coast with blizzard conditions, and New England braces for the heaviest snow
About nine million people were under blizzard warning Saturday night from New York to Maine, mostly in coastal areas, making visibility terrible and travel dangerous.
A blizzard, as defined by the National Weather Service, requires blowing snow or snowfall, winds of at least 35 miles per hour, and visibility of a quarter mile or less for at least three hours.
“Hang on for 24 hours, and tomorrow you can go back and resume some of your normal activities,” Tom Guthlein, Rhode Island’s acting director of emergency management, said early Saturday.
In Atlantic City, New Jersey, howling winds whipped snow to the side Saturday morning, and a CNN crew there could barely see anything a block away. The city on Saturday broke its all-time record for January snowfall, hitting a staggering monthly total of 35.2 inches of snowfall. It had received about 19.2 inches before the storm and added another 16 inches of snow on Saturday, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said Saturday afternoon. The previous monthly record of 20.3 inches was set in 1987.
Up to 2 feet of snow could fall Sunday morning from Long Island to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, CNN forecasters said.
And Boston, eastern Massachusetts and parts of Maine might get more than 2 feet of snow, which could threaten Boston’s single-day snowfall record of 23.6 inches set on February 17, 2003. Snow could fall at rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour at some places.
“It’s slowed down a bit and I think we’re past the peak of the storm,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told CNN on Saturday night, adding, “but it’s coming fast and strong, and so it’s historical”.
Blizzard warnings for coastal areas from Virginia to New England have ruled out Philadelphia and New York, but snow is still battering those cities, with nearly a foot possible in each.
Notable locations within the warning area include Atlantic City, New Jersey; the eastern half of Long Island in New York; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Boston; and Portland, Maine.
Nearly 19 million people were under winter weather alerts in six states Saturday evening, from southern New York to Maine, New York and Boston.
Power outages in Massachusetts, with flooding in streets along the coast
High winds could lead to power outages – and many were already reported in Massachusetts on Saturday afternoon.
In Nantucket, floodwaters blanketed Easy Street and slammed into some homes on Saturday morning, video recorded by Blair Perkins showed.
High winds and snow pushed over several trees across the island while some areas were out of power due to downed wires, Nantucket Fire Chief Stephen Murphy told CNN Saturday afternoon. Several roads were also closed due to flooding, the chief said.
“We have coastal flooding when we get these kinds of storms, but today was pretty intense,” Jason Graziadei, editor of the local Nantucket Current newsletter, told CNN Saturday afternoon. “People (are) kind of just hunkered down here.”
Scituate, a coastal Massachusetts town southeast of Boston, experienced light to moderate flooding at high tide Saturday morning, with water splashing over the levees, town administrator Jim Boudreau told CNN. .
High winds reached more than 70 mph, Boudreau said Saturday afternoon.
“When you have wind like that with the snow, the snow is almost like needles falling on people,” he said. “Visibility has been close to zero, we’re clearing the roads as fast as we can, as fast as we get the snow off the roads the wind blows it away.”
“It’s really treacherous right now,” Boudreau said.
In Marshfield, another coastal town in Massachusetts, about 4 feet of water broke through the levee at high tide, city administrator Michael A. Maresco told CNN.
“The combination of strong northeasterly winds and high seas will result in storm surges which, if coincident with high tide, would result in minor to moderate coastal flooding,” the Boston Weather Services office said.
In Quincy, a town just south of Boston, the mayor warned people to stay indoors, saying even snowplow operators couldn’t drive when the snowfall is heaviest.
“There’s no way the plows are working when they can’t see in front of their face,” Mayor Thomas Koch told CNN on Saturday. “Even after the storm is over, we will plow for many hours afterwards, to keep up with the wind blowing it.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation issued a travel ban for large trucks on interstate highways on Saturday due to severe winter weather forecasts.
Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm and took extra precautions by signing a travel ban starting Saturday morning until 8 p.m. due to whiteout conditions .
Rhode Island expects to record some of its highest snowfall totals during this storm, the governor told CNN on Saturday afternoon.
Blizzard-like conditions led Amtrak to cancel train service Saturday for various routes, including Acela service between Washington, DC and Boston as well as regional service between Boston and New York, the company announced Friday.
Snow is accumulating quickly on Long Island and New Jersey
The governors of New York and New Jersey have also declared states of emergency.
As a precaution, all Long Island Rail Road services have been suspended Saturday morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced.
Although over 1 foot is generally expected for Long Island, the eastern half could receive over 20 inches, the National Weather Service said.
Snowplow crews will work through Saturday night in Suffolk County on Long Island, but freezing temperatures and persistent snowfall will complicate efforts to clear roads through Sunday, the county executive said, Steve Bellone.
In Nassau County, where officials said snowfall totals ranged from 10 to 18 inches, County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Saturday that strong gusts of wind were expected later in the evening and urged residents to stay at home.
“The snow is dangerous, but the wind is more dangerous,” Blakeman said, adding that there were more than 50 car crashes Saturday morning, but roads later in the day remained virtually empty apart from traffic jams. snow plow.
“If everyone stays off the roads, lets our workers do their jobs, by noon tomorrow I think we’ll have that under control, and I think the roads will be a lot safer,” he said. declared.
In New Jersey, the Jersey Shore was “getting crowded,” Gov. Phil Murphy said late Saturday morning.
He asked residents to be patient and stay away from covered roads.
“It will take us a few days to dig this one, and that’s probably the realistic scenario,” Murphy said.
Near Central Park in New York, snowfall was lighter – about 5 inches reported around noon. Some bundled up people were jogging on Saturday morning.
“It’s a good opportunity to have some peace and quiet in the city,” Chris Peck, taking a break from jogging near the park, told CNN on Saturday morning. “Sort of, close your eyes and pretend you’re in nature. Nice change of pace.”
Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and elsewhere
The governors of Maryland and Virginia have declared states of emergency.
As of noon Saturday, parts of the Virginia coast received up to 6 inches, and coastal parts of Maryland and Delaware received more than 10 inches.
Parts of interior North Carolina and South Carolina received more than 2 inches of snowfall, with higher amounts in the mountains of North Carolina.
CNN’s Brynn Gingras, Brian Todd, Artemis Moshtaghian, Liam Reilly, Tyler Mauldin, David Williams, Haley Brink and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.