Blizzard hammers U.S. Northeast, five dead, 700,000 lose power

Sat Feb 9, 2013 5:00pm EST
 

By Tim McLaughlin and Edith Honan

BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A record-breaking blizzard packing hurricane-force winds hammered the northeastern United States on Saturday, cutting power to 700,000 homes and businesses, shutting down travel and leaving at least five people dead.

The mammoth storm that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic dumped more than 3 feet of snow across the Northeast, the National Weather Service said.

Coastal blizzard and flood warnings were in effect, but Massachusetts and Connecticut lifted vehicle travel bans as the storm slowly moved eastward on Saturday afternoon.

Stratford, Connecticut, Mayor John Harkins said he had never seen such a heavy snowfall, with rates reaching 6 inches an hour.

"Even the plows are getting stuck," Harkins told local WTNH television.

The storm centered its fury on Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with the highest snowfall total, 38 inches, in Milford, Connecticut.

About 2,200 flights were canceled on Saturday, according to FlightAware, which tracks airline delays. Boston's Logan International Airport and Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, were shut down.

The storm dumped 29.3 inches of snow on Portland, Maine, breaking a 1979 record, the weather service said. Winds gusted to 83 miles per hour (134 km per hour) at Cuttyhunk, New York, and brought down trees across the region.   Continued...

 
People arrive with their children and toboggans to a snowy Central Park in New York February 9, 2013. A blizzard packing hurricane-force winds pummeled the northeastern United States on Saturday, killing at least one person, leaving about 600,000 customers without power and disrupting thousands of flights. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri