Mammoth Storm Disrupts Northeast, 5,000 Flights Cancelled

By Jesse Sokolow on 8 February 2013
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Light snow in New York City on Friday

Light snow in New York City on Friday

Editor’s note: An updated report on the storm may be found here.

A mammoth winter storm descended on the Northeast on Friday, pummeling the area with high winds and blanketing the entire region in a layer of snow that is expected to be up to three feet high in some places by Sunday morning.

Along the coast, from southern Main to Boston to parts of the New York City metropolitan area, winds with gusts of over 50 mph (80 km/h) are likely on Friday night.  Come Saturday, the same intensity winds are expected in New England, and New York could again see some as well.  Most schools were closed Friday due to the storm.

The National Weather Service said that roads would be “near impossible at times with considerable blowing and drifting snow.”  Meanwhile, utilities companies are making necessary preparations in anticipation of outages and disruptions.

According to FlightAware, a flight tracking service, over 3,100 flights were canceled in the U.S. today, and an additional 1,292 have been canceled for tomorrow, bringing the total to 4,700.  Airlines are waiving cancellation fees and urging passengers to make other plans.

Mayor Cuomo announced in a news conference that John F. Kennedy International Airport would be closing at 6 p.m.  Most airports in the Northeast were also scheduled to close Friday evening and reopen no earlier than noon on Saturday.  Boston’s Logan Airport will probably not open before that time on Sunday.  Additionally, the governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut signed state orders banning cars from road.

In New York, Amtrak suspended its northbound service out of Penn Station beginning at 1:03 p.m., Amtrak’s southbound service was suspended out of Boston’s South Station at 1:15 p.m.

To prepare for the storm and its aftermath, residents from Maine to New York have been lining up to fill gas tanks and stock up on supplies.

On Friday in New York, a mixture of snow, rain, and sleet fell for much of the afternoon, but as night fell, cooler air returned, turning the wintry mix back into snow.  The expected snowfall for the city is around a foot to a foot and a half, while areas such as Boston might get as much as twenty eight inches.  Snowdrifts could reach five feet or more with the high winds.

Mayor Bloomberg said in a radio interview “Our biggest concern is making sure people get home from their day and that they don’t abandon their cars in the middle of the road.”  He went on to say, “But we don’t think the snow is going to come down hard enough where that should be a problem … and we’ve coordinated with all the different agencies that have plows and tow trucks to make sure every resource is available if we need it.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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