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Blizzard blankets US east coast


AP

Blizzard blankets US east coast

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NEW YORK (AP) – A storm packing blizzard conditions spun up the East Coast early Tuesday, pounding parts of coastal New Jersey northward through Maine with high winds and heavy snow.

While the storm failed to live up to predictions in some areas, eastern Long Island north through Massachusetts and Maine were expected to fare the worst, with one to three feet of snow, punishing hurricane-force winds and the possibility of some coastal flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

Bruce Sullivan of the National Weather Service (NWS) said Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, could get about two feet.

Some areas of Massachusetts received more than a foot of snow by early Tuesday; Plymouth had almost 16 inches, Shrewsbury almost 15, and Sandwich had 13 inches of snow.

In Maine and New Hampshire, a state of emergency has been declared, and government offices in both states are closed Tuesday.

Parts of Long Island are dealing with hazardous conditions, with snow falling 2 inches per hour. Islip had 14.7 inches of snow by early Tuesday. Blizzard warnings were lifted for New York City and New Jersey early Tuesday.

Sections of New York were forecast to see from 10 to 20 inches of snow, and a 60-mile stretch of the New York Thruway in the Hudson Valley remained closed. In Hartford, Connecticut, up to a foot of snow was expected, while Philadelphia and central New Jersey were spared the brunt of the storm and expected to get about 6 inches.

Gusty winds blew through the northeast, with sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph. The NWS said higher gusts were reported from New Jersey to near Boston, where the winds were clocked at 40 to 50 mph. The weather service says a wind gust of 78 mph was reported on Nantucket, and a 72 mph gust was reported in Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard.

The National Weather Service over the weekend had issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swath of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.

On Monday, life abruptly stopped across the region as officials ordered workers to go home early, banned travel, closed bridges and tunnels, and assembled their biggest ploughing crews.

Light snow fell steadily early Tuesday in midtown Manhattan as a few municipal trucks rumbled down empty streets. The city had an almost eerie, post 9/11 feel to it: No airplanes in the sky; an unexpected quiet.

Brandon Bhajan, a security guard at a West 33rd Street building, said the situation early Tuesday was better than expected.

“We expected a lot more accumulation,” Bhajan said. “I feel like the wind is more of the problem than the actual snowfall. It’s rough to walk and it’s very, very cold.

“I don’t think they (city) overblew it. I think it’s like the situation with Ebola … if you over-cover people are ready and prepared rather than not giving it the attention it needs.”

More than 7 700 flights in and out of the Northeast were cancelled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out early.

Government offices closed.

Shoppers stocking up on food jammed supermarkets and elbowed one another for what was left.

Broadway stages went dark.

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