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Snow blankets north-east USA, flights cancelled


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Snow blankets north-east USA, flights cancelled

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A fast-moving storm expected to drop a foot of snow or more in the Northeast over the weekend moved into the region today as road crews went on high alert and airlines began cancelling flights.
Utilities braced for power outages, airports prepared for delays and local officials readied for slick roads while shoppers headed out to stores to tackle gift lists during a shorter-than-normal holiday shopping season.
The National Weather Service has said six to 12 inches of snow was expected in New England, with as much as 14 inches possible along the Maine coast. Areas north and west of New York City and central Pennsylvania could get eight inches or more. About half a foot was forecast in parts of Ohio, where snow began falling overnight.
Airlines have cancelled about 940 flights because of the storm, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Almost 350 flights into and out of Newark, New Jersey, have been cancelled, and 172 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport have been called off. ExpressJet and United have cancelled the most flights so far.
“It’s a pretty bad day for Newark,” said Mark Duell, a spokesman for FlightAware, a website that tracks commercial airlines. About 40 per cent of Newark’s 900 flights have been cut, he said.
If the weather gets much worse, American Airlines and Delta may be forced to cancel more flights in New York and Chicago, Duell said. Chicago was forecast to get three to six inches of snow later this afternoon, while several towns in central Illinois had already received eight inches.
But some areas, including resorts and ski towns in Northern New England, welcomed the snow and were eager to see the winter season get started.
“We have been watching (the forecast) since people first started talking about it on Monday or Tuesday,” said Ethan Austin, spokesman for the Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. “Right now it’s setting up pretty well for us, so we’re pretty psyched.”
Meteorologist Paul Head with the National Weather Service in State College, Pennsylvania, said winds will pick up into tomorrow, presenting hazardous blowing snow for motorists.
 

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