Source Pravda.Ru

Winter storm that battered U.S. Midwest slams into Northeast

Snow-weary residents of western New York were advised to stay indoors as a winter blast that menaced motorists and knocked out power in the U.S. Midwest swept into the Northeast as a blizzard early Wednesday.

Most of upstate New York reported several inches (centimeters) of new snow on the ground Wednesday morning, with 10 inches (25 centimeters) reported alone in Owego, on the Pennsylvania line. Schools in Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo were closed.

The National Weather Service predicted accumulations between 8 and 30 inches (20 and 75 centimeters) for areas around New York, with some locales to receive as much as 3 feet (90 centimeters). The storm system was blamed for at least one death in Ohio.

Flight delays and cancellations were announced at Albany International Airport. Temperatures were expected to rise above the teens Fahrenheit (above -7 Celsius) in most areas, with high winds driving the wind-chill below zero F (-18 C).

Peter Van Kereun, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, advised people to stay home if they did not have to go out.

Connecticut officials closed Bradley International Airport and all 632 state plows were scraping down highways and putting down salt as sleet and freezing rain lashed the state. Up to a foot (30 centimeters) was expected.

The weather service issued a blizzard warning for Massachusetts' four westernmost counties early Wednesday, with snowfall rates that could exceed 2 inches (5 centimeters) per hour and wind gusts up to 40 mph (64 kph).

In Ohio, the winter blast was blamed for the death of a 9-year-old girl struck by a falling tree limb and the State Highway patrol was investigating the death of a man who was driving a tractor-trailer when it ran off the road and into a ditch and hit a tree.

Sheriff's offices in several west, northwest and north central Ohio counties closed roads to all but emergency workers Wednesday morning, many extending bans that began Tuesday; anyone else caught driving could be arrested.

More than 52,000 Duke Energy customers remained without power early Wednesday in the Cincinnati area and FirstEnergy Corp. reported scattered outages in northern Ohio. Thousands also had been plunged in the dark Tuesday in central Ohio.

Schools across Ohio remained closed Wednesday for a second day. Classes also were canceled at several college campuses, including Ohio State, and the Cleveland Municipal Court was closed Wednesday.

The storm also threatened to put a deep freeze on some Valentine's Day deliveries.

"People have to understand, we can't do it if it gets really bad. Other than that, we'll kill ourselves to get it delivered," said florist Dan Filer, whose shop in suburban Cleveland was double-wrapping flower arrangements to protect them from the weather.

In Illinois, up to nearly 16 inches (40 centimeters) of snow was recorded Tuesday in parts of Springfield and at least 12 inches (30 centimeters) in Champaign with winds gusting to 40 mph (64 kph) or higher.

Two major airlines United and American canceled up to half their Wednesday morning flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

In Indiana, Purdue University officials canceled some classes, while most flights out of Indianapolis International Airport were canceled Wednesday. More than 4,000 Duke Energy customers remained without power early Wednesday

The Indiana National Guard was opening armories in over a dozen northern Indiana communities for travelers seeking shelter. The 7.4 inches (18.8 centimeters) of snowfall Tuesday in Indianapolis set a record for the date.

Communities in northern Pennsylvania were expecting more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow before the storm clears out Wednesday, reports AP.

Pittsburgh got its first blast from the storm late Tuesday morning as about 2 1/2 inches (6.35 centimeters) of snow forced schools throughout the region to close. The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium also shut down.

Crews around New Jersey on Tuesday salted roads and rail platforms in anticipation of the storm, which had already brought some freezing rain, sleet and snow to much of the state by early evening. Numerous school districts in the state canceled classes for Wednesday.

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