Battered, beleaguered: Storm socks East Coast
Heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain bombarded the East Coast on Thursday and the Southeast continued to grapple with the aftermath of another unusual winter storm that covered the region in ice. In some places, the winter assault eased up during the day, but another wave was expected overnight into Friday. "It's like a dog chasing its tail all day," said Pat O'Pake, a plow operator in Pennsylvania. Here's a sampling of what the latest round of winter weather brought:
SNOW AND MORE SNOW: The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from North Carolina to Maine on Thursday and predicted another round of wintry weather would torment the Northeast into Friday. Philadelphia got nearly 9 inches of snow, its fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season — the first time that has happened in the city since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. New York City received nearly 10 inches, and a big swath of New Jersey had about a foot of snow by midday Thursday. Rockaway, N.J., had 14 inches.
Washington had at least 8 inches of snow; Baltimore awoke Thursday to 15 inches. Parts of northern Georgia had over 9 inches by late Thursday morning, while North Carolina ranged from 6 inches in cities to up to 15 inches in mountainous areas. In Virginia, Blacksburg and Salem contended with 2 feet of snow, and the Virginia-West Virginia state line got more than a foot.
IN THE DARK: About 1.2 million homes and businesses lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast. By Thursday evening, about 550,000 customers remained in the dark, mostly in South Carolina and Georgia.
TREACHEROUS TRAVEL: More than 6,500 flights were canceled across the country, according to the website FlightAware. In Washington, D.C., the two main airports were closed. Amtrak canceled some of its trains in the Northeast and the South and modified schedules for others.
In the Northeast, Interstate 84 in New York state between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania lines was closed to commercial traffic; tandem tractor-trailer trucks were banned from highways in Connecticut. Municipalities imposed parking and travel restrictions so roadways and streets would be clear for plowing. Speed limits were lowered on some highways.
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.
NOT SO LOVABLE: The latest round of dangerous weather threatened to disrupt deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers on Friday. "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." Frank Campisi of Fallon's Flowers in Raleigh, N.C., said he's had to move deliveries from Friday to Saturday and, in some cases, to Monday. "We're trying to do as much as we can, which doesn't amount to a whole lot," he said.
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. 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.
WINTER CANCELS WINTER: A celebration of winter tourism in the Olympic village of Lake Placid, N.Y., was postponed ahead of the storm. Plans had called for visitors to take part in skiing, bobsledding and other winter sports at the sites that hosted the 1980 and 1932 Winter Olympics. A new date has not been chosen.