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Winter storm lashes US east coast with deep snow and high winds

Parts of 10 states and some major population centres were pummelled by the storm.

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Heavy snow and high winds in West Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod Times via AP)

Heavy snow and high winds in West Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod Times via AP)

Heavy snow and high winds in West Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod Times via AP)

A winter storm has lashed the US north-east with deep snow and gusts of wind close to hurricane force, causing coastal flooding and threatening widespread power outages as forecasters warned conditions will get worse as the day goes on.

Parts of 10 American states and some major population centres – including Philadelphia, New York and Boston – were pummelled by the storm.

By late Saturday morning, more than a foot of snow had fallen on parts of New Jersey’s shore and eastern Long Island.

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Patrick Lawrence clears his driveway of snow at his home in New Bedford, Massachusetts (The Standard-Times via AP)

Patrick Lawrence clears his driveway of snow at his home in New Bedford, Massachusetts (The Standard-Times via AP)

AP

Patrick Lawrence clears his driveway of snow at his home in New Bedford, Massachusetts (The Standard-Times via AP)

Boston, in the crosshairs of the “nor’easter”, could get as much as 2ft of snow.

Isolated pockets nearby could get as much as 3ft, forecasters said. Winds gusted as high as 70mph on Nantucket Island off Massachusetts and over 60mph elsewhere in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Most flights into and out of the airports serving New York, Boston and Philadelphia were cancelled on Saturday, according to FlightAware.

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Dale McElwee clears his Green Street, North Attleboro, Massachusetts (AP)

Dale McElwee clears his Green Street, North Attleboro, Massachusetts (AP)

AP/PA Images

Dale McElwee clears his Green Street, North Attleboro, Massachusetts (AP)

More than 4,500 flights were cancelled across the US, while Amtrak cancelled all of its high-speed Acela trains between Boston and Washington and cancelled or limited other services in the region.

Across the region, residents hunkered down and avoided travel at the behest of government leaders, who warned of whiteout conditions. Business closed or opened late.

In the seaside town of Newburyport, north of Boston near the New Hampshire border, officials strongly encouraged residents living along the shore to move to higher ground.

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The lights of a tall ship shine on the water during a snow storm in East Boston (AP)

The lights of a tall ship shine on the water during a snow storm in East Boston (AP)

AP

The lights of a tall ship shine on the water during a snow storm in East Boston (AP)

Video posted on social media showed wind and waves battering North Weymouth, south of Boston, flooding streets with frigid water. Other video showed a street underwater on Nantucket.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost power in Massachusetts, with failures mounting. No other states reported widespread outages.

The storm had two saving graces: Dry snow less capable of snapping trees and tearing down power lines, and its timing on a weekend, when schools were closed and fewer people were commuting.

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Snow covers the entrance to the subway station in the Bushwick section of the Brooklyn borough of New York (AP)

Snow covers the entrance to the subway station in the Bushwick section of the Brooklyn borough of New York (AP)

AP

Snow covers the entrance to the subway station in the Bushwick section of the Brooklyn borough of New York (AP)

Officials from Virginia to Maine warned people to stay off the roads.

Rhode Island, all of which was under a blizzard warning, banned all nonemergency road travel starting at 8am. Fierce winds blew the snow sideways for hours in Providence.

In West Hartford, Connecticut, a tractor-trailer jacknifed on Interstate 84, closing several lanes. Massachusetts banned heavy trucks from interstate highways.

On New York’s Long Island, East Hampton officials reported near-whiteout conditions, as much as 8in of snow by mid-morning and wind gusts of over 50mph.

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A lone ambulance travels on an empty Interstate 195 in Providence, Rhode Island (AP)

A lone ambulance travels on an empty Interstate 195 in Providence, Rhode Island (AP)

AP

A lone ambulance travels on an empty Interstate 195 in Providence, Rhode Island (AP)

“There’s a lot of drifting of snow, so of course we’re urging people not to go out at all, allow the highway crews to do their job,” town supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said.

“It’s going to be challenging enough without people getting stuck in the roadway.”

In Philadelphia, where 6in of snow was reported by early Saturday, few drivers ventured onto streets covered in knee-high drifts.

Some parts of the Jersey Shore had more than 13in by midday, the National Weather Service reported.

Delaware allowed only essential personnel to drive in two of its three counties.

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Church caretaker Wilian Roberto Vasquez clears snow from the sidewalk around the church at the beginning of a major snow storm arrives in Somerville, Massachusetts (AP)

Church caretaker Wilian Roberto Vasquez clears snow from the sidewalk around the church at the beginning of a major snow storm arrives in Somerville, Massachusetts (AP)

AP

Church caretaker Wilian Roberto Vasquez clears snow from the sidewalk around the church at the beginning of a major snow storm arrives in Somerville, Massachusetts (AP)

Many hardy New Englanders took the storm in stride.

“This is nothing,” said 34-year-old Nicky Brown, who has lived in Waltham nearly her whole life, except for a brief stint in northern Maine. “I’ve seen way worse up there.”

Dave McGillivray, race director for the Boston Marathon, jokingly invited the public to his suburban Boston home on Saturday for a free snow-shovelling clinic.

“I will provide the driveway and multiple walkways to ensure your training is conducted in the most lifelike situation,” he said.

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A loader works to clear snow along Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts (Cape Cod Times via AP)

A loader works to clear snow along Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts (Cape Cod Times via AP)

AP/PA Images

A loader works to clear snow along Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts (Cape Cod Times via AP)

Parts of 10 states were under blizzard warnings: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, along with much of the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Areas closest to the coast are expected to bear the brunt of the storm.

Virginia, where a blizzard this month stranded hundreds of motorists for hours on Interstate 95, did not hesitate to get resources at the ready.

In Maryland, the governor mobilized the National Guard. Washington and Baltimore were spared the worst of the storm.

The worst of the storm was expected to blow over by Sunday morning into Canada, where several provinces are under warnings.


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