New England battles blizzard conditions
BOSTON (Reuters) – New England battled blizzard conditions on Wednesday with the second major snowstorm of the winter season pummeling parts of the region with nearly two feet of snow by morning commuting time.
Snow fall measurements climbed throughout the day, with parts of Connecticut and western Massachusetts reporting nearly 30 inches of snow by mid-afternoon, according to Weather Channel meteorologists.
The 22.5 inches measured at Bradley Airport in Hartford, Connecticut make Wednesday the snowiest day on record for the city, said The Weather Channel.
Boston recorded just about a foot of snow, with totals topping 15 inches outside the city.
Given the larger and heavier than expected snowfall across Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency earlier this afternoon.
While forecasts call for the storm to move out of New England tonight, heavy bands of snow falling at two inches per hour in some areas have hindered snow removal efforts.
“The combination of snow-clogged roads and greatly reduced visibility will make travel across eastern New England extremely treacherous, if not impossible for a time,” said Accuweather.com senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
Blasting winds have added to storm damage. Accuweather.com reported a gust of 80mph on Cape Cod earlier on Wednesday.
But it’s the heavy, wet snowfalls in the eastern part of the region that led to widespread power outages.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge said outages across the state peaked at 101,000 and are now down to 86,000.
Massachusetts State Police said spin outs and single cars sliding into guard rails or snowbanks have been Wednesday’s most common incident with no significant personal injuries to report. Speed limits on the Massachusetts Turnpike have been cut to 40 mph, but state police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Murray doubted anyone could travel that speed given current conditions.
Boston’s Logan International Airport has been open throughout the storm with one runway operational, but most passenger flights had been canceled, said airport spokesman Phil Orlandella.
Some airlines, including JetBlue, AirTran and American Airlines, are pushing to get a flight out or bring planes in on Wednesday depending on the storm and destination, said Orlandella, with broad efforts underway to be prepared for Thursday morning’s schedule.
Amtrak has temporarily suspended train service between New York City and Boston due to a fallen tree near Sharon, Massachusetts, south of Boston. Amtrak’s shuttle service between Springfield, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut has also been shuttered for the day.
(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Jerry Norton)