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Northeast winter storm shuts schools, knocks out power

By CBS News,

2023-03-14

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Tracking the nor'easter headed for the Northeast 01:04

The start of a winter storm with heavy, wet snow led to hundreds of school closings, canceled flights and thousands of power outages in parts of the Northeast on Tuesday.

The storm's path included parts of New England, upstate New York, northeastern Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey. Snow totals by the time it winds up Wednesday were expected to range from a few inches to a few feet, depending on the area .

"This is shaping up to be a unique winter storm for our small state in that there will be big differences in snowfall amounts depending on where you are located," said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who ordered all executive branch state office buildings closed. "Some towns may receive a significant snowfall total, while others may receive a fraction of that amount or maybe even just rain."

On Twitter Tuesday morning, Lamont said that utility companies were reporting "more than 1,400 power outages," mainly in the western portion of the state. That number is expected to grow as the storm continues, he said.

More than 600 flights traveling to, from or within the U.S. were canceled Tuesday morning, with Boston and New York City area airports seeing the highest number of scrubbed flights, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

The National Weather Service said that in New York state, 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow per hour or more was falling in higher elevations, in the eastern Catskills through the mid-Hudson Valley, central Taconics and Berkshires. A state of emergency was declared by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday night.

Wet, heavy snow snapped tree branches and downed power lines across New York's capital region. More than 30,000 homes and businesses in the Albany area were without power.

The snowfall totals will be among the highest of the season, said meteorologist Andrew Orrison of the weather service office in College Park, Maryland.

"It has been below average for snowfall across the Northeast this year, and so this nor'easter will be very impactful," he said.

Rain was turning into snow across parts of New England and winds were picking up. There were at least 80,000 customers without power across New England. In New Hampshire, it was Election Day for town officeholders, but more than 70 communities postponed voting because of the storm.

"We know that the driving conditions are going to be treacherous," Patrick Moody of AAA New England said.

The weather service said expected snow totals from the storm, which is expected to wind up Wednesday, range from a foot to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm) in higher elevations in Massachusetts, to 4 to 6 inches in Boston. Higher elevations in southwest New Hampshire could get up to 2 feet of snow, and Augusta, Maine, could see 8 inches to a foot.

The storm in the Northeast came as California continued to face severe weather. Crews rushed to repair a levee break on a storm-swollen river in California's central coast as yet another atmospheric river arrived this week with the potential to wallop the state's swamped farmland and agricultural communities.

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