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Storm blasts winter-weary Northeast; thousands lose power

Alanna Durkin Richer
The Associated Press

BOSTON – A nor’easter that could deliver up to 2 feet of snow to some areas socked New England on Tuesday, bringing blizzard conditions to coastal Massachusetts and Rhode Island, blanketing highways with fluffy snow and knocking out power to tens of thousands of utility customers.

Meteorologists confirmed blizzards in Newport, Rhode Island, Boston and other parts of Massachusetts. Blizzard warnings were issued for Maine and New Hampshire.

The rest of New England was under winter storm warnings, while winter weather advisories were issued for most of New York and parts of New Jersey, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Although the latest storm is not expected to bring as many power outages as a nor’easter last week because the snow is lighter, more than 150,000 customers in Massachusetts were without power Tuesday morning.

In the dark: Janice James’ Osterville house on Cape Cod was in the dark again after losing power for three days in the last storm. James and her four children spent Tuesday eating baked goods she made before the storm and hoping the lights and heat come back soon.

“We are freezing,” James, 39, said.

The Boston-area public transit system operated on a limited weekday basis. Usually-packed subway trains were nearly empty as many workers stayed home and schools closed.

Joe Rotella ducked into a train station as he tried to find his way to a hotel that’s hosting a convention where he’s speaking. Organizers were scrambling to establish video links to speakers whose planes were delayed or canceled, said Rotella, chief medical officer with the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

“As a visitor to Boston, I’ve been looking forward to this for months, and this is kind of an adventure for me,” the Louisville, Kentucky, man said. “I didn’t have to go through the last two nor’easters so this still feels like fun.”

The storm was expected to last through most of Tuesday, disrupting road and air travel. The flight-tracking site FlightAware reported more than 1,500 canceled flights on Tuesday.

Miami residents Ashley Pozo, 21, and Ray Milo, 25, who we visiting friends in Boston, were stuck at the airport after their Tuesday flight was canceled. Rather than risk getting stranded in the city, they plan to stay another night in the airport, sleeping on chairs, watching Netflix and munching on supplies they picked up from a CVS drugstore.

Amtrak suspended all service Tuesday between Boston to New York City.

Elsewhere: Eastern Long Island felt the brunt of the storm in the New York City area. Newsday reported that the storm knocked out power to more than 6,000 homes and businesses on Long Island, and forecasters said the island’s East End could get up to a foot of snow.

Boston and eastern Massachusetts, as well as Rhode Island, could get a foot and a half of snow, with less to the west of the city.

In East Greenwich, Rhode Island, Rev. Bernard Healey said he celebrated noon Mass with “two hearty souls” during the storm.

“If I lost power, we’d (still) celebrate Mass,” Healey said. “We would just use more candles.”

In New Hampshire, as much as 14 inches of snow is forecast, and the storm is disrupting the age-old town meeting tradition. More than a foot of snow was expected in parts of Connecticut.

Maine braced for a hard hit. The Portland International Jetport has had 75.5 inches (1.9 meters) of snow, far above the normal for the date of 51.8 inches (1.3 meters). Another 12 to 18 inches is expected, said James Brown, of the National Weather Service.

“We’re not out of winter yet, that’s for sure,” Paul Knight, of Portland, said as snow accumulated on his eyebrows during a stroll. “The groundhog was right. Six more weeks of winter, and probably then some.”


Associated Press writers Mark Pratt, Michael Casey, and Sarah Betancourt in Boston, Michelle Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, Jennifer McDermott in Warwick, Rhode Island, and Bob Bukaty in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.