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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Blizzard for the ages blasts through Northeast U.S.-declared states of emergency-14 deaths
Blizzard for the ages blasts through Northeast
Region tries to dig out from deep snow; 14 deaths tied to weather
The Associated Press
Updated: 5:42 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2005
Image: Snow shoveling in Massachusetts.
Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters
Matt Smith shovels a path from his driveway to the road Sunday in Somerville, Mass.

BOSTON - The roar of snowblowers and the scrape of shovels were heard across the Northeast as residents tried to free their sidewalks and cars from mounds of snow left by a weekend blizzard.

Monday classes were closed in many Massachusetts schools and colleges and Gov. Mitt Romney asked nonessential state workers in the eastern part of the state not to come to work. Dozens of school districts across New Jersey also canceled classes or schedule delayed openings.

At least 14 deaths were linked to the weather: three in Connecticut, three in Ohio, three in Wisconsin, two in Pennsylvania, and one each in Maryland, Iowa and Massachusetts.

Concern for young, elderly
Governors in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island declared states of emergency. Before pounding the Northeast, the weather system had piled a foot of snow across parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and northern Ohio.

On Massachusetts? Nantucket island, where an 84 mph wind gust was reported, the storm plunged the entire island into darkness until Sunday night, when power was largely restored.

?We just don?t have the equipment to handle that amount of snow,? said Nantucket deputy fire chief Mark McDougall. The department was trying to reach people at risk, such as the elderly and the very young, in outlying areas cut off by snow drifts up to 6 feet high.

Two communities in Massachusetts ? Salem and Plymouth ? tied for the deepest snow with 38 inches each, according to the National Weather Service. Over 3 feet fell in some places north of Boston, parts of New Hampshire got 2 feet, and New York?s Catskills collected at least 20 inches.

More than 12 inches fell in 17 of New Jersey?s 21 counties and a wind chill advisory was scheduled to remain in effect through Monday morning. The winds were also blowing the snow around across the region, causing drifting and visibility problems.

Travel screeches to halt
Boston?s Logan International Airport closed early Sunday and was not expected to open until Monday morning. Service at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., was not expected to return to normal until Monday.

More than 900 flights were canceled Sunday morning at the New York metropolitan area?s Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, in addition to about 700 that were grounded Saturday, Port Authority officials said.

Philadelphia?s airport was open again Sunday, after a shutdown and flight cancellations on Saturday stranded hundreds of travelers at the terminal overnight, but more than 70 departures were canceled. Nearly 1,300 flights were canceled from Friday through Sunday at Chicago?s O?Hare International.

In Pennsylvania, Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County, the state?s largest ski resort, got a welcome 10 inches. Punxsutawney, home to the famous weather-predicting groundhog, received about 7 inches of snow.

The Baltimore Gas and Electric Company reported 3,091 of its customers were without power Saturday afternoon. Workers whittled that number down to 65 by Sunday morning, but that number fluctuated through the day after winds picked up.

In Delaware, officials decided to delay the opening of state government offices, as well city offices and some county offices, until 10 a.m. Monday. Some schools were closed.

?There?s just a lot of hard-packed ice and snow,? Rosanne Pack, spokeswoman for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, said Sunday. ?The parking lots are just ice rinks.?

Icy winds shock Northeast
The biggest problem in northern Maine was the teeth-chattering wind. Rich Norton of the National Weather Service, said the wind chills Sunday morning were minus-33 degrees in Frenchville, minus-27 in Bangor and Presque Isle, and 25 below zero in Caribou.

New York City sanitation workers were working 12-hour shifts to clear the streets by Monday morning?s rush hour. Department spokeswoman Kathy Dawkins said nearly 2,000 pieces of equipment were being used, including collection trucks, dump trucks and salt spreaders with snow plows attached.

?We are reminding people to clear a path on their property,? Dawkins said. ?But please, oh please, oh please do not shovel the snow onto the street.?

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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