U.S. Northeast Threatened With Blizzard, Travel Delays

The U.S. Northeast is bracing for a winter storm that is forecast to dump more than a foot of snow across parts of the region, threatening road closures after causing hundreds of flights to be canceled.

Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island and eastern Plymouth county and Barnstable county in Massachusetts may be swept by winds of 30 miles (48 kilometers) per hour with gusts as much as 45 miles per hour, while receiving as much as 14 inches (36 centimeters) of snow, according to the National Weather Service, which issued blizzard warning for the areas. As much as 8 inches may fall in New York City, northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson River valley through tomorrow, a separate winter storm warning showed.

“In the I-95 corridor the daylight hours are not going to be all that bad,” said Carl Erickson, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. “The core of the storm from Boston down to New York City and Philadelphia will be Thursday night into Friday morning.”

Visibility on Long Island may be cut to less than a quarter mile and wind chills could make temperatures feel close to minus 10 Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius) tomorrow, according to the blizzard warning. As driving conditions deteriorate, the state may close the Long Island Expressway and other thoroughfares, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters yesterday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported good service on almost all subway, bus, rail and bridge and tunnel links into New York City as of 6:15 a.m. local time.

More than 70 percent of all winter-storm deaths are automobile related, according to the National Fire Protection Association, a Quincy, Massachusetts-based non-profit advocate for safety codes.

Canceled Flights

“Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibility are likely,” according to the National Weather Service blizzard warning. “This will lead to whiteout conditions making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If you must travel have a winter-survival kit with you.”

While the storm threatens to disrupt ground transportation, air traffic is already feeling the effects. As of 6 a.m., 986 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were canceled, the majority at Cleveland, Newark and Chicago, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service.

Along the U.S. East Coast, snow will start tapering off and coming to an end tomorrow, AccuWeather’s Erickson said. “It is a quick mover, there is nothing holding it back,” he said.

Farther to the west, heavy snow is expected to keep falling in Chicago and the Midwest throughout the day, according to the weather service.

Winter weather advisories stretch from Kansas to Maine. A lake-effect snow warning is in place for Chicago, where as much as 10 inches may fall today. Yesterday, 953 flights were canceled around the U.S., with 619 arrival and departures scrubbed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, FlightAware data show.

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