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Snow emergency has been declared in several US states as a storm bringing hurricane-force winds and 36ins of snow barrels down on the north-east.

Non-emergency vehicles have been banned on New York City’s 6,000 miles of roads after 23:00 local time.

“Recognize this as an emergency, this is not business as usual,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Heavy snowfall is forecast from Philadelphia to Maine, falling up to four inches an hour in some areas.

New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have declared states of emergency and a blizzard warning has been issued for an area inhabited by 20 million people.

5,000 flights in and out of airports along the East Coast cancelled.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged commuters to work from home on January 26. He also warned that public transport and major roads could close before evening rush hour.Snowstorm emergency 2015

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said state offices would close at lunchtime.

Wind gusts of 75 mph or more are forecast for coastal areas of Massachusetts.

Hurricane-force winds of up to 80 mph (129km/h) will batter Cape Cod, the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The heaviest snowfall will come in the early hours of Tuesday, with 15 inches expected between 01:00 and 05:00 local time, and 30 inches in total in parts of Massachusetts.

During a Monday afternoon press conference, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to stay out of the way of the 2,300 snowploughs clearing city streets.

“You can’t underestimate this storm,” the city’s mayor said.

“What you are going to see in a few hours in something that is going to hit very hard and very fast.”

Similar bans for non-emergency vehicles will be in effect later this evening for the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts and would be likely in the rest of New York state.

At least 28 million people will face blizzard conditions over the next day and an estimated 50 million people could see more than a foot of snow in the storm.

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Prince fans, who paid $150 to attend an early morning after show event in Connecticut on December 30, have been offered refunds after their hero failed to perform.

They hoped Prince had something special planned for them after three successive nights at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, which ended with performances from Doug E. Fresh and Janelle Monae on Sunday night, but it was not to be.

Prince disappointed Connecticut fans at aftershow party in Uncasville

Prince disappointed Connecticut fans at aftershow party in Uncasville

Instead, Prince, who was not billed to perform at the Mohegan Sun resort bash, appeared briefly in the DJ’s mixing desk to prompt the playing of a new track and then his backing band The NPG took the stage shortly after 4 a.m. and played for just 20 minutes. Fans booed when it became clear the show was over.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment silence Saturday morning on the first anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment silence Saturday morning on the first anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will observe a moment silence Saturday morning on the first anniversary of Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

At 9:30 a.m., around the time the first of Adam Lanza’s 26 schoolhouse victims died, houses of worship around Connecticut will toll their bells, once for each victim, a request from Gov. Dannel Malloy — repeating a similar gesture made a week after the shooting.

Across the country, people will find their own ways to pay tribute — the personal and the communal, the modest and the grand.

Many of such efforts have been underway for quite a while.

The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play, which built 26 playgrounds in areas leveled by Hurricane Sandy, each named after one of the Sandy Hook victims.

There is the Newtown Documentation Project, which sought to preserve the thousands of letter and handmade gifts that have poured into the town in the past year.

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The 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, were released Wednesday.

Less than two weeks before the first anniversary of the tragedy, the recordings were made public after the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission approved a request from the Associated Press and the state’s attorney decided not to appeal.

The 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown were released

The 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown were released

Prosecutors had argued that audio of seven calls placed from inside Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, would cause anguish for the families of the 20 children and six staffers slain.

A court agreed they would be “a searing reminder of the horror and pain of that awful day” but said would also underscore the “bravery and professionalism” of the first responders.

While many family members opposed the release of the tapes, others were in favor of public airing.

The recordings were put out days after state law-enforcement officials released a long-awaited report on the shooting and 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza.

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The unusual October snowstorm in North East US sent trees and branches crashing down on electrical wires and equipment across the states.

In Connecticut, all of the 149 cities and towns served by Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) were affected by the snowstorm.

It was reported that about 770,000 CL&P customers were without power earlier this morning due to the snowstorm, surpassing the peak number of outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene two months ago.

Jeff Butler, president and COO at CL&P said:

“This will not be a <<quick fix>>…this may take more than a week to restore all of our customers. There are reports of trees down practically everywhere.”

“To help with damage assessments, we’re using two helicopters. Our other priorities today are handling emergency situations and working in partnership with the towns to clear the blocked roads.”

About 770,000 CL&P customers were without power due to the snowstorm, surpassing the peak number of outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene two months ago

About 770,000 CL&P customers were without power due to the snowstorm, surpassing the peak number of outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene two months ago

The snowstorm effects differ from Tropical Storm Irene’s in that the storm has caused significant damage to transmission lines, which are the lines that take power from electric generating plants and feeds it to the distribution grid that serves local homes and businesses.

CL&P is scheduling crews to work around the clock until restoration efforts are complete. During a multi-day restoration such as this, approximately 75% of crews will begin their shifts around 07:00 a.m. in order to maximize daylight hours and be most productive.

The remaining 25% of CL&P crews will begin their shifts around 03:00 p.m. and will work through the night.

“The safety of our employees, contractors and our customers is of our utmost concern and we want to make sure everyone working on this restoration has appropriate time to rest between shifts,” added Jeff Butler.

For their safety, CL&P also reminds customers to stay at least 10 feet away from all wires. Assume any downed, hanging or burning power lines are live and dangerous.

“If a power line falls on your vehicle while you’re inside, stay there. Don’t touch anything outside the vehicle and wait for emergency crews. Call 9-1-1 immediately with any emergency condition,” advised CL&P.

“To report outages or check the status of an outage, visit cl-p.com or call 800-286-2000. Our automated phone and online systems can rapidly process your report and help us speed restoration efforts. For helpful tips and news updates, go to our website at cl-p.com, follow us on Twitter @CTLightandPower and like us at Facebook.com/CTLightandPower. You can also get updates on outages in your town by texting “outage” and your zip code to 24612 (texting fees may apply),” CL&P also said.

CL&P has been part of everyday life in Connecticut for more than 100 years, providing safe and reliable electric service to homes, neighborhoods and businesses. With 1.2 million customers in 149 cities and towns, CL&P is improving the environments you live in, by offering programs in energy conservation, economic development and environmental stewardship. CL&P is a Northeast Utilities company (NYSE: NU). For more information, please visit www.cl-p.com , like us on Facebook at facebook.com/CTLightandPower and follow us on Twitter @CTLightandPower.

Hurricane Irene: 10 deaths and millions of power outages.


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[googlead tip=”patrat_mare”]At least 7 states – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Connecticut – declared emergencies as Hurricane Irene massively advances toward US Eastern Seaboard.

North Carolina is likely to take the first blow, according to officials.

Hurricane Irene advances toward the Eastern Seaboard with 115-mph winds and officials issued a hurricane warning for the entire North Carolina coast to the Virginia border.

New York officials ordered low-lying hospitals and nursing homes to evacuate.

If Hurricane Irene follows its current projected path, it will make landfall along North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Saturday.


Hurricane Irene passed Bahamas (AP photo).

Hurricane Irene passed Bahamas (AP photo).

“The Category 3 storm withdrew from the Bahamas late Thursday, traveling north at 14 mph,” the National Hurricane Center said.

[googlead tip=”vertical_mare” aliniat=”dreapta”] Although North Carolina will take the first hit, “the rest of the Eastern Seaboard is well within the path of this storm,” National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said.

Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor said: “This could be a 100-year event.”

New York City officials said they might have to suspend all mass transit beginning Saturday.
In addition to ordering nursing homes and hospitals in low-lying coastal areas to evacuate ahead of possible flooding, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg advised residents to stay out of parks.

“Because of the high winds that will accompany the storm, we are also urging all New Yorkers, for their own safety, to stay out of parks, where the high winds will increase the danger of downed trees and limbs,” Bloomberg said.

“And incidentally, it’s a good idea to stay out of your own backyard if you have trees there.”

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial postponed it indefinitely because of the Hurricane Irene.

[googlead tip=”lista_mare” aliniat=”stanga”]More than 50 million people live in the projected path of the storm.

Irene has an outside chance of growing into a Category 4 storm, with sustained winds topping 130 mph. But current forecasts predict it will diminish to Category 2 after pummeling North Carolina, with sustained winds up to 110 mph as it plows into Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.

North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue declared an emergency in all counties east of Interstate 95, about a quarter of the state, and officials set up emergency shelters inland. President Obama declared North Carolina an emergency too, expediting federal help.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency established a depot for food, water, generators, baby formula and other emergency supplies at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as well as at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Westover Air Reserve Base in Massachusetts.

Up to 200,000 tourists and residents are affected by evacuation orders in North Carolina alone, with states to the north rushing to prepare their own evacuation plans. Forecasters said Irene was so big and powerful that severe road flooding and widespread electrical outages were likely, especially in the Northeast, where the ground is saturated from recent rains.

“This is a very dangerous storm,” said Dorothy Toolan of the Dare County Emergency Management office in Manteo, North Carolina, across the Roanoke Sound from Nags Head.

“People really need to take this seriously.”

Hurricane Irene would be the first hurricane to hit the US mainland since Ike devastated the Texas coast in 2008.

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