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Deadly Storm Heads Out to Sea After Week of Snow, Winds

The winter storm that blew blizzards across the Midwest and spun off tornadoes from Texas to North Carolina is moving away from the East Coast after leaving as much as 14 inches (35.5 centimeters) of snow in parts of upstate New York.

The system battered the Atlantic coast from New Jersey to Massachusetts with high winds, rain and ice. In New York City, the storm was winding down as it moved out to sea, said Dan Hoffman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Upton, New York.

“As the storm pulls away, the rain is going to taper off,” Hoffman said by telephone. “After lunch there may be some peeks of sun and the clouds will start breaking up.”

The break may be short-lived. Another storm is threatening to develop off the East Coast this weekend, and that could bring snow to eastern New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, said Joey Picca, another weather service meteorologist at Upton.

The Christmas storm killed at least seven people, according to the Associated Press, as it blew across the U.S., disrupting holiday travel as it grounded thousands of flights and closed highways. Tornadoes unleashed by the system damaged homes, hospitals and businesses and injured at least 16 people, said the U.S. Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

More than 175,000 homes and businesses from the central U.S. to the East Coast were blacked out at about 7:30 a.m. New York time today, 76 percent of them in Arkansas, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from utility websites and company statements. About 13,800 customers were without power in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Flights Grounded

The storm scrubbed 1,634 flights in the U.S. yesterday and 403 today as of 8:30 a.m. New York time, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.

While the storm didn’t bring much snow to the New York City area, it did bring high winds. A gust of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour was recorded late yesterday in Brick Township, New Jersey, the weather service said. A gust of 70 mph was recorded at Eaton’s Neck on New York’s Long Island.

In Massachusetts, the Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in Milton registered a gust of 62 mph.

In Rochester, New York, 8.5 inches of snow fell, setting a new daily record and breaking the old mark of 7.7 inches set in 1969, the weather service said. At Buffalo airport, 11 inches fell.

NYC-Area Snow

In the New York metropolitan area, Orange County in New York and Sussex County in New Jersey received the most snow from the storm with 5 to 6 inches, according to the weather service. Westchester received about 2.5 inches.

As the storm clears later today there may be another round of high wind gusts, although they won’t be as bad as earlier, Hoffman said.

Snow is expected to keep falling across the ski areas of northern New England through tomorrow. Parts of western Maine may receive as much as 18 inches and areas of Vermont and New Hampshire may get as much as 14, according to the weather service.

Picca said it’s too early to predict snowfall amounts for the weekend storm because that will depend in large part on what track it takes. There’s a chance that will happen.

“Tomorrow we start to get a better idea of that track and the precipitation amounts,” Picca said.

AccuWeather Inc., based in State College, Pennsylvania, predicted as much as 3 inches of snow for the New York area.

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