(Corrects “above” to “below” in 14th paragraph.)
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) were reported at American International College, said Carl Erickson, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. New York’s Central Park had 9.5 inches by 10:45 a.m. and 12 inches were on the ground in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the National Weather Service said.
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 10,681 flights being canceled across the U.S. in the past three days, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service. As of noon New York time, 5,883 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. US Airways, a unit of American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL), canceled all flights into Charlotte, North Carolina, for the rest of the day.
About 610,000 homes and businesses from Arkansas to New Jersey were without power as of 11:30 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 the weather service increased its forecast to 10 to 16 inches from 8 to 12. 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.
Across western Connecticut, 20 inches may fall and northern New Jersey could get 17, the weather service said.
“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,” Picca said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island and the mid-Hudson Valley. He didn’t close roads, as he has done in previous storms, though he urged motorists to stay off them and said there may be shutdowns later.
Cuomo warned residents not to get complacent because of this winter’s frequent snowfalls.
“Don’t get cocky about it, don’t take it casually because any one of them could generate a loss of life,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters. “These storms are more frequent and they’re more ferocious.”
New York has had eight days this season with a snowfall of 3 inches or more, the most since 1960-61, according to Weather 2000 Inc. It has also had the most days with maximum temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero Celsius).
The snow even shut down the Heraeus Precious Metals Management gold refinery in Newark, New Jersey.
Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reported 12.3 inches, Erickson said. More than 8 inches fell in Washington, while Philadelphia reported 8.8.
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 past two days. As of 9 a.m., 19 inches were reported in Cherry Grove, West Virginia, 18 in Winchester, Virginia, and 15 in Saluda, North Carolina, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.
A half-inch or more of ice fell across a wide area of central Georgia, including in Augusta and Marietta, the center said. Three inches coated Forest Acres, South Carolina, where the state asked people not to drive until the storm passes.
A half-inch of ice is all that’s 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 from the Northeast tomorrow, there is a chance a smaller storm could bring an additional 1 to 3 inches from North Carolina to Washington in two days, Erickson said.
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