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Winter Storm Pummels Northeast: Updates Winter Storm Pummels Northeast: Updates
(about 2 hours later)
The lull of Thanksgiving came to an abrupt and frosty end on Monday, as commuters across the Northeast awoke to a blanket of snowfall, news of school closings and predictions that the sudden blast of winter would continue churning over the region, from Pennsylvania to Maine.The lull of Thanksgiving came to an abrupt and frosty end on Monday, as commuters across the Northeast awoke to a blanket of snowfall, news of school closings and predictions that the sudden blast of winter would continue churning over the region, from Pennsylvania to Maine.
Central and eastern New York were perhaps the hardest hit from Sunday into Monday, with more than a foot of snowfall in some places and up to 20 inches in Saratoga County. Albany was hit with 13.3 inches of snow, a record for Dec. 1 and among the city’s top 10 snowfalls for the month of December. An additional five to 10 inches of snow is expected through Monday night.Central and eastern New York were perhaps the hardest hit from Sunday into Monday, with more than a foot of snowfall in some places and up to 20 inches in Saratoga County. Albany was hit with 13.3 inches of snow, a record for Dec. 1 and among the city’s top 10 snowfalls for the month of December. An additional five to 10 inches of snow is expected through Monday night.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Monday declared a state of emergency for Albany, Saratoga and several other counties in the region, and said he would deploy 300 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal.Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York on Monday declared a state of emergency for Albany, Saratoga and several other counties in the region, and said he would deploy 300 members of the National Guard to help with snow removal.
From Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, schools and colleges closed for an early-season snow day.From Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, schools and colleges closed for an early-season snow day.
And the snow was not going away just yet: The storm was expected to hover over the region and move slowly northeast, hitting Boston with a second round of snow on Monday night and reaching Maine by Tuesday morning.And the snow was not going away just yet: The storm was expected to hover over the region and move slowly northeast, hitting Boston with a second round of snow on Monday night and reaching Maine by Tuesday morning.
“It’s going to get cranking tonight and tomorrow morning,” said Frank Nocera, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton, Mass., who said that the Boston area, which has already received four to eight inches of snow in some suburbs, could see those amounts double by Tuesday.“It’s going to get cranking tonight and tomorrow morning,” said Frank Nocera, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton, Mass., who said that the Boston area, which has already received four to eight inches of snow in some suburbs, could see those amounts double by Tuesday.
“The morning commute will be impacted tomorrow,” he said, adding that more school closings would not be “out of the question.”“The morning commute will be impacted tomorrow,” he said, adding that more school closings would not be “out of the question.”
More than 600 flights within, into or out of the United States had been canceled as of Monday afternoon, according to FlightAware.com, with many of the scrubbed flights at the New York and Boston airports. As of Monday morning, the greater Boston area has experienced a mixture of rain and light snow, with a winter weather advisory issued. More than 740 flights within, into or out of the United States had been canceled as of Monday afternoon, according to FlightAware.com, with many of the scrubbed flights at the New York and Boston airports. As of Monday morning, the greater Boston area has experienced a mixture of rain and light snow, with a winter weather advisory issued.
Anthony and Amy Burt, newlyweds from Devon, England, who have been celebrating their honeymoon in Maine the past two weeks, were concerned their flight back home on Tuesday might be added to the cancellations.Anthony and Amy Burt, newlyweds from Devon, England, who have been celebrating their honeymoon in Maine the past two weeks, were concerned their flight back home on Tuesday might be added to the cancellations.
“The snow is hitting pretty hard up here in Portland,” Mr. Burt said.“The snow is hitting pretty hard up here in Portland,” Mr. Burt said.
Portland had received nearly two inches of snow by Monday afternoon, but another six to 10 inches was expected to fall by Tuesday morning. Some places in southern parts of the state, in particular York County, had seen more than nine inches of snow.Portland had received nearly two inches of snow by Monday afternoon, but another six to 10 inches was expected to fall by Tuesday morning. Some places in southern parts of the state, in particular York County, had seen more than nine inches of snow.
“We have prepared ourselves for the drive to Boston tomorrow by putting snacks in the car, water and tea,” Mr. Burt said, adding that he had made sure the car’s tires were in good condition.“We have prepared ourselves for the drive to Boston tomorrow by putting snacks in the car, water and tea,” Mr. Burt said, adding that he had made sure the car’s tires were in good condition.
Snowy roads are hazardous, and the most seasoned drivers and best-equipped vehicles can get into trouble on them. Marc Lacey, national editor of The New York Times, saw ample evidence of that as he drove 360 miles through the storm on Sunday from Buffalo to New Jersey by way of Central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania:
I knew it was a particularly fierce ice storm, and not a run-of-the-mill one, when I spotted an upended salt truck, a big sturdy vehicle that slid off the road outside of Buffalo and had flipped on its side on the shoulder. Call that Accident No. 1.
Over the course of the day on Sunday, I would count no fewer than 24 accidents. There was the car turned the wrong way on the expressway on-ramp — Accident No. 2. There was the car turned sideways — Accident No. 3.
There was the three-car pile up. The four-car pile up. One car had gone off the road, down a gully and up the other side. I could not interview any of the drivers, some of whom were still on the scene, as I too was navigating the storm and struggling to remain between the lines.
The airports were nightmarish, I am told, with flights delayed and passengers stranded in the post-Thanksgiving rush. But the roads, I dare say, were worse.
Experts say that factors like a few degrees’ difference in temperature, uneven application of road salt or the recent passage of another vehicle can make one patch of pavement much slipperier than another a few feet away. Falling or blowing snow can make it especially hard to tell where the slick spots are. And for drivers, familiarity can breed complacency.
“We see a lot of people from all over the country who have grown up in the Snow Belt and have years and years of driving experience, and in reality have just been lucky, because their technique leaves a lot to be desired,” Mark Cox, the director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colo., told The Times in January.
Read more about the hazards and misconceptions of winter driving.
Classes were canceled on Monday at the University at Albany, something Allison Craig, who has taught at the school for 20 years, said she could not remember happening before.Classes were canceled on Monday at the University at Albany, something Allison Craig, who has taught at the school for 20 years, said she could not remember happening before.
Stuck at her home in the suburb of Delmar, she watched the snow mounting and her neighbors working to dig their cars out. Stuck at her home in the Albany suburb of Delmar, she watched the snow mounting and her neighbors working to dig their cars out.
“The plow operator where I live has been plowing since last night, without stopping,” Dr. Craig said. “He didn’t want to take a break and let it pile up, so he’s been without sleep since yesterday.”“The plow operator where I live has been plowing since last night, without stopping,” Dr. Craig said. “He didn’t want to take a break and let it pile up, so he’s been without sleep since yesterday.”
But for Upstate New Yorkers, this weather was nothing unusual.But for Upstate New Yorkers, this weather was nothing unusual.
Lynn Hodges, who has lived in Cohoes, a suburb northeast of Albany, for 45 years, said she was prepared for extreme weather. Last week, she collected enough wood for fires, bought plenty of canned goods, and filled her cars with gas to see her through the storm.Lynn Hodges, who has lived in Cohoes, a suburb northeast of Albany, for 45 years, said she was prepared for extreme weather. Last week, she collected enough wood for fires, bought plenty of canned goods, and filled her cars with gas to see her through the storm.
“You learn,” she said.“You learn,” she said.
The calendar says the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is still nearly three weeks away. But the storm that has been slashing across the country is correctly called a winter storm, because “winter” means something a bit different to a meteorologist than it does to astronomers and calendar-makers, who mark the start of the season with the winter solstice.
That’s the moment when the northern half of the earth is tipped most directly away from the sun. This year, the solstice will occur at 11:19 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 21, which will be the shortest day and longest night of the year.
But meteorologists define the seasons using the annual cycle of average temperatures, with the three coldest months of the civil calendar considered “meteorological winter.” That season began on Sunday, Dec. 1.
So the weather isn’t just wintry — to a weather forecaster, it’s a winter storm.
The storm was blamed for multiple deaths over the long holiday weekend.The storm was blamed for multiple deaths over the long holiday weekend.
In Missouri, officials said three people were killed on Saturday when their vehicles were swept off flooded roads, The Associated Press reported, and a 48-year-old Louisiana man died in a separate incident.In Missouri, officials said three people were killed on Saturday when their vehicles were swept off flooded roads, The Associated Press reported, and a 48-year-old Louisiana man died in a separate incident.
A highway pileup near Kingston, Ontario, involving about 30 vehicles, including several tractor-trailers, left one person dead and several injured, according to officials. Curtis Dick, a constable with the Ontario Provincial Police, said that the crash was related to the storm, and that the area had seen a “significant amount of snowfall” accumulate over a short period of time.A highway pileup near Kingston, Ontario, involving about 30 vehicles, including several tractor-trailers, left one person dead and several injured, according to officials. Curtis Dick, a constable with the Ontario Provincial Police, said that the crash was related to the storm, and that the area had seen a “significant amount of snowfall” accumulate over a short period of time.
The authorities in Arizona found the bodies of two young children who had been among nine people riding in a vehicle on Friday that was swept away as it tried to cross a creek swollen with runoff from the storm. A third child was still missing.The authorities in Arizona found the bodies of two young children who had been among nine people riding in a vehicle on Friday that was swept away as it tried to cross a creek swollen with runoff from the storm. A third child was still missing.
Investigators are looking into whether blizzard conditions in South Dakota caused the crash of a private plane shortly after it took off bound for Idaho on Saturday. The 12 people on board belonged to the same family; nine were killed.Investigators are looking into whether blizzard conditions in South Dakota caused the crash of a private plane shortly after it took off bound for Idaho on Saturday. The 12 people on board belonged to the same family; nine were killed.
The calendar says the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere is still nearly three weeks away. But the storm that has been slashing across the country is correctly called a winter storm, because “winter” means something a bit different to a meteorologist than it does to astronomers and calendar-makers, who mark the start of the season with the winter solstice.
That’s the moment when the northern half of the earth is tipped most directly away from the sun. This year, the solstice will occur at 11:19 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 21, which will be the shortest day and longest night of the year.
But meteorologists define the seasons using the annual cycle of average temperatures, with the three coldest months of the civil calendar considered “meteorological winter.” That season began on Sunday, Dec. 1.
So the weather isn’t just wintry — to a weather forecaster, it’s a winter storm.
Patrick J. Lyons contributed reporting.Patrick J. Lyons contributed reporting.