A massive winter storm has blanketed the Northeast with up to 2 ft snow and ushered in dangerously cold temperatures Friday, leaving travelers stranded and a cutting a deadly path across several states.
The storm has been blamed for 11 deaths and forced the cancellation of more than 4,000 flights since Wednesday.
Authorities warned residents to remain indoors, both for their own safety and to keep roads clear for snow removal.
Fatal traffic accidents occurred in New York, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Authorities said a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease froze to death after she wandered away from her rural western New York home.
And in suburban Philadelphia, as the storm approached, a worker at a salt storage facility was killed when a 100-foot-tall pile of road salt fell and crushed him. Falls Township police said the man was trapped while operating a backhoe.
The big storm followed closely the blueprint meteorologists drew up, slamming the Northeast overnight Thursday with as much as two feet of snow and sub-zero wind chills through Friday. The biting wind and blowing snow shut down interstates and airports alike and gave millions of school children a snow day.
John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was officially closed at 6:12 a.m. Friday and reopened four hours later, while Boston’s Logan International was effectively shut down, as well.
Interstate 84 in New York and the Long Island Expressway, closed at midnight as the storm roared in, remained so until 8 a.m.
Snowfall reports varied widely, with New York City receiving 7 inches in some areas, Baltimore seeing 3 to 6 inches, Philadelphia closing in on 9 inches, Hartford 6 to 10 inches and Boston as much as 15 inches.
Some 20 inches fell on other parts of Massachusetts. Boxford, northwest of Boston, reported 23 inches.
The brutal storm blasted at least 22 states – stretching from Chicago through the New York tri-state region into New England – and affected an area home to more than 100 million people.
The high temperature in New York City reached the 20s on Friday during the day and was expected to drop to the single digits in the evening, with the wind chill making it feel well below zero.
“It’s deceptively cold outside. If you stay outside too long it could be dangerous,” New York City’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, said at a news conference Friday morning, while hundreds of plows and salt spreaders continued to clear the roads.
Temperatures from upstate New York to Maine were below zero, and wind chills — the “feels like” effect — were minus-30 in some spots.
Across the Northeast, residents were fretting about the blast of bitter cold.
The weather was affecting air travel, with more than 2,600 flights cancelled Friday and another 8,800 delayed, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.
The delays and cancellations in storm-socked parts of the country created a logjam in other areas, including causing flights in Los Angeles to be delayed or scrapped Friday.
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