The winter storm that cut electricity to more than half a million customers across the South and grounded 10,000 flights this week turned its power on the U.S. Northeast, bringing heavy snow from Virginia to Maine.
In Washington, 11 inches (28 centimeters) was reported at American International College, said Carl Erickson, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. As much as 13 inches (33 centimeters) fell in Oakton, Virginia, 18 miles west of the capital, as of 6 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. New York’s Central Park had 7 inches by 9 a.m.
At least 14 deaths were blamed on the system as it moved out of the Deep South, the Associated Press reported.
The storm “is going to continue to deepen and strengthen as the day goes on and the snow will expand up through the Boston area up to Maine,” Erickson said. “It looks like there will be a very large swath of 6 to 12 inches from Virginia to Maine.”
The storm contributed to 10,042 flights being canceled across the U.S. in the last three days, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service. As of 10 a.m. New York time, 5,259 flights were scrubbed today. More than two-thirds of all trips from Washington’s Reagan National Airport were called off, as well as at least half at New York’s LaGuardia, the company said.
About 617,000 homes and businesses from Arkansas to New Jersey were blacked out as of 9:30 a.m. New York time, according to utility websites. More than half were in North Carolina and South Carolina. New Jersey and New York utilities reported about 6,000 customers blacked out.
Heavy snow fell in New York, where 8 to 12 inches was expected, the weather service said in a winter storm warning. The snow was expected to change to sleet and rain later today before beginning again tonight, said Joey Picca, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.
“We’re looking for more snow to come across the area late this afternoon into the evening and that would give us another few inches,” Pica said.
Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reported 12.3 inches, Erickson said. North and west of Washington and Baltimore is where the heaviest snow was falling. Philadelphia reported 8.8 inches.
Government offices in Washington closed, and classes were canceled in Philadelphia and Washington.
The South is struggling to recover from snow and ice that has been falling there for the last two days. As of 3 a.m., 13 inches of snow had fallen in Laurel Ridge, Virginia, 11 inches in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, and 10 inches in Cullman, Alabama, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.
A half inch of ice has been reported across a wide area of central Georgia, including in Augusta and Marietta, the center said. An inch of ice coated Orangeburg, South Carolina, where the state asked people not to drive until the storm passes.
A half inch of ice is all that is needed to bring down a power line, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.
The precipitation “is starting to wind down over the southeast,” Carolan said, and should improve starting tomorrow.
The storm also prompted warnings across eastern Canada from Quebec to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, according to Environment Canada. Parts of eastern Quebec may get as much as 20 inches of snow, the weather agency said.
After the system pulls away, there is a chance a smaller storm could bring an additional 1 to 3 inches from Washington to North Carolina in two days, Erickson said.
–With assistance from Lynn Doan in San Francisco, Jim Polson in New York, Cheyenne Hopkins and Kristin Jensen in Washington, Duane D. Stanford in Atlanta, Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas and Rebecca Penty in Calgary. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe