Huge swath of US hit by winter storm, bringing snow, cold
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. awakened today to the beginnings of a massive winter storm expected to deliver snow, ice and high winds followed by possible record-breaking cold as it moves up the Eastern Seaboard from the Carolinas to Maine.
Blizzard warnings and states of emergency were in effect, schools and government offices closed for the day and motorists were warned to be careful as conditions began to worsen.
Ankle deep snow and wind gusts approaching 50 mph covered Maryland's Ocean City Boardwalk, which was under a blizzard warning Thursday. In New Jersey, 4 inches of snow had fallen in Margate.
The massive storm began two days ago in the Gulf of Mexico, first hitting the Florida Panhandle. It has prompted thousands of canceled flights, shuttered schools and businesses and sparked fears of coastal flooding and power outages.
Wind gusts of 50 mph to 60 mph, strong enough to cause downed trees and power lines, are predicted in places where the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings. They include the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland; coastal New Jersey; eastern Long Island, New York; and coastal eastern New England.
Winter storm warnings stretched as far south as South Carolina on Wednesday night, but National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Peterson said the storm should be over by todayin the southern states. For most of today, he said, the storm will impact the Northeast, with Boston possibly getting up to 14 inches of snow. The storm will then be followed by a wave of bracing cold.