Winter storm spreads snow, traffic woes in U.S. Northeast

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SHAFAQNA – A winter storm spread freezing rain and snow and snarled traffic from the Middle Atlantic states into New England on Saturday, and forecasters said they expected a second system to lash the region early next week. Winter storm warnings remained in place for parts of New England, with up to 8 inches (20 cm) of snow expected in the area overnight as the storm system headed east, said National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Brian Hurley in College Park, Maryland.

The snow turned from wet to powdery as temperatures dropped to well below freezing.

“Drifting is not an issue at this point,” Hurley said.

Winds from the storm could reach up to 45 miles per hour (72 km per hour) on Cape Cod in Massachusetts on Saturday night, the NWS forecast.

The driver of a car on Interstate 495 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts was killed in an afternoon collision with a tractor trailer in one of dozens of accidents and spinouts that forced temporary closure of some state highway lanes, a State Police spokesman said.

In New Jersey, snow totals reached up to 9 inches (23 cm) in some areas, with state police reporting 135 crashes by Saturday afternoon, but no major injuries, a spokesman said.

The New York City Department of Sanitation rolled out 2,100 snow plows, salt spreaders and other equipment to de-ice roads and sidewalks, a spokeswoman said. It also issued a call for laborers to help remove snow and ice.

The website Flightaware.com reported nearly 2,200 U.S. flights delayed or canceled. It said the airports affected the most included LaGuardia in New York City and Liberty International in Newark, New Jersey.

The eastern United States could get a second swipe of winter weather, with a cold front moving out of Canada forecast to reach the upper Midwest on Sunday, Hurley said.

The weather service forecast the system to scatter up to 8 inches (20 cm) of snow across parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia as it raced east.

When the cold front reaches moister air near the Atlantic Ocean, “it will be a significant event for New England as we get into Monday night, and especially Tuesday,” Hurley said.

Benjamin Sipprell, an NWS meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts, said the storm carried the potential for blizzard conditions in eastern New England, and could bring more than a foot of snow.

Source : Reuters.com

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