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Winter storm

Storm dumps more than a foot of snow on parts of US Northeast

Storm dumps more than a foot of snow on parts of US Northeast
People climb the rocks in Central Park after heavy snowfall in New York, New York, USA, 13 February 2024. EPA-EFE/SARAH YENESEL

Feb 13 (Reuters) - A powerful, fast-moving winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of New England on Tuesday after it brought New York City its first significant snowfall in at least two years.

Some 13 million people from New York City north into southern New England remained under a winter storm warning until 7 p.m. local time as the Nor’easter pummeled the region with heavy, wet snow and winds of up to 60 miles (96.56 km) per hour, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

As of midday, the storm had left numerous spots with more than a foot of snow, including Farmington, Connecticut, and Sussex, New Jersey, where snow accumulations totaled more than 15 inches, according to the NWS.

In Fall River, Massachusetts, where snow totals were expected to reach 9 inches, all Valentine’s Day flower deliveries from Robin Metivier’s Main Street Florist were canceled on Tuesday.

“It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and I had to tell my customers we can’t do it,” she said, looking out of her shop window at the snow that forced her to shovel twice already. “We’re tough New Englanders, but the flowers can’t take the cold.”

The big wallop of snow expected for Boston did not materialize, with the city getting only about an inch of snow by midday, the NWS said, noting that the storm jogged south of the city.

In the New York City area, it had stopped snowing by midday, leaving behind snow accumulations of 3 to 8 inches depending on the location, creating conditions for sledding and snowball fights, albeit briefly.

“Between today and yesterday, we’re totally out of sleds and shovels,” said Louis Mendez, manager of Columbus Hardware in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. “We had maybe 60 sleds and I don’t know how many shovels. They were our top seller.”

The storm brings a conclusive end to a “snow drought” in New York City that lasted almost two years. The snow-less stretch, which exacerbated concerns over global warming, officially concluded in mid-January, when an Arctic blast dropped about 1.4 inches – little more than a dusting – in Manhattan’s Central Park.

More than 2,000 plow trucks were working to salt and clear streets, city officials said during a briefing, urging property owners to clear snow from their walks.

“NYC remains under a Travel Advisory today as temperatures drop & snow melts, leading to possibility of icy roads,” the city’s emergency management agency said on X, urging drivers to exercise caution.

Jan Gautam, the head of the Manhattan-based snow removal company Novus Maintenance, said he was up all night and into the morning assembling his crews to run more than a dozen snow plows and 30 sidewalk plows to hit the streets of New York.

“Our phones haven’t stopped ringing since the snow started,” Gautam said. “We’ll be out there as long as it’s snowing.”

Gautam manages about 100 employees who service more than 250 customers across the city, including hospitals and hotels.

“In a storm like this, with so much snow coming fast, we have to go back to the same locations over and over, to keep it clear and safe,” he said.

Some 130,000 homes and businesses were without power in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia, according to Poweroutage.us.

School districts across the region canceled in-person classes for the day, including New York City, which was holding classes remotely for its 1 million students.

More than 1,100 fights to and from New York’s LaGuardia, Boston Logan International and Newark Liberty International airports were either delayed or canceled, according to Flightaware.com.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Mark Porter)

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