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Storm Dumps Snow on U.S. Northeast Before Heading to Sea

A commuter rides a bicycle in the snow in New York on Friday morning. Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
A commuter rides a bicycle in the snow in New York on Friday morning. Photographer: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

March 9 (Bloomberg) -- A storm that confounded forecasters this week dumped snow in the suburbs of Boston yesterday before heading to sea after traversing the U.S. Midwest and East Coast.

Parts of the Boston area were covered with as much as two feet (61 centimeters) of snow before the storm blew out at about 6 p.m. yesterday, Joe Dellicarpini, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts, said by telephone. The storm was centered about 500 miles (805 kilometers) east of New England as of 7:30 p.m. New York time, he said.

“There are some gusty winds still over Cape Cod, but that’s about it,” Dellicarpini said. “Everything else is pretty much winding down.”

The system, which began in the Plains and moved across the Midwest earlier this week, defied forecasters much of the way, as heavy snow predicted for Washington failed to materialize and far more than expected blanketed the Northeast.

As much as 7 inches fell in parts of New York City and 15 inches to the north and west of the city. Storm warnings were lifted for New York by midafternoon yesterday, remaining for southeastern New England, including Boston, until 7 p.m. yesterday.

The storm stalled southeast of New England yesterday and kept dropping snow because a high-pressure system to the north was blocking its way, said Charlie Foley, a weather service meteorologist in Taunton.

“It’s almost like a traffic light,” Foley said by telephone yesterday. “If you have a high pressure system, nothing is going to pass that.”

Flight Delays

Some flights into New York’s LaGuardia Airport were being delayed more than 2 1/2 hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website. Holds of an hour or longer affected arrivals at New York’s Kennedy International, while three-hour backups were reported at Newark Liberty International in New Jersey.

Logan Airport in Boston received 13 inches of snow, while 3 inches fell at Kennedy and LaGuardia and 6.7 at Newark, the weather service said.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, 1,086 flights around the U.S. had been canceled, most of them at LaGuardia, Newark and Logan, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracker. More than 5,600 flights were scrubbed this week, it said.

In New York, 4 inches of snow fell in Manhattan’s Central Park, with Queens getting as much as 6.7 inches. Parts of Westchester County and Connecticut got more than a foot of snow.

Sunny Today

Weather conditions were expected to improve today, Stark said. “We’re looking at temperatures near 50 in the city, and maybe even a little warmer on Sunday. So sunny days are ahead.”

Foxboro, Massachusetts, recorded almost 25 inches and Boston had more than a foot.

Schools closed in Hull and Scituate and delayed opening in Marshfield yesterday because of flooding. Crews in those Massachusetts towns and others along the coast worked to shore up seawalls.

About 27,000 utility customers were without electricity at 7:30 p.m. New York time yesterday from Virginia to Massachusetts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The majority of those without power were in western Virginia, where as much as 24 inches of snow fell.

Part of the reason for the higher-than-expected snowfall in Boston was an unforeseen temperature drop, Tom Kines, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said yesterday. That was the opposite of what happened earlier in the week in Washington, when government offices closed in anticipation of heavy snow that mostly turned to rain.

“If this was January, we would have pulled out all the stops on this storm,” Kines said. It’s harder to predict what’s going to happen with a storm in March because the sun’s higher in the sky and stronger, Kines said. The sun, even through overcast, is able to keep temperatures above freezing, holding down accumulation.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net; Lynn Doan in San Francisco at Ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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