White-out! Blizzards hit north-east US

More than 3ft of snow brings power cuts and chaos

New York

The north-eastern United States and eastern Canada were pummelled yesterday by a severe blizzard which brought furious winds and hours of snowfall, knocking out power for more than 600,000 people across the region, and forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights and other transport links. In places, there was more than 3ft of snow.

At least six deaths were blamed on the storm conditions, according to the Associated Press. A man in his seventies was reported to have died when a driver lost control of her car in the storm and crashed into him in Poughkeepsie, upstate New York. Another pedestrian was killed in an accident in Prospect, Connecticut, while in Germantown, New York, a 23-year-old man was reported to have died after going off the edge of a roadway as he cleared his drive. Across the Canadian border in southern Ontario, an 80-year-old woman was reported to have collapsed as she shovelled snow from her drive.

Overnight, parts of Connecticut, where highways were shut down to all but emergency vehicles, were blanketed by more than 3ft of snow, while reports of up to 2ft of snow came from Long Island and parts of Massachusetts.

Yesterday morning, the snow was still coming down, albeit in smaller quantities, across parts of New England. In Boston, residents awoke to find snow piled high along pavements by ploughs that had worked through the night. The streets were deserted, with more than one account describing the usually bustling city centre as a ghost town. Over in Hartford, Conneticut, which was hit by 34in of snow, the Mayor, Pedro Segarra, said city crews had been forced to suspend efforts to clear the streets as the snow came down as a furious rate of more than 4ins per hour.

In Long Island, hundreds of motorists were marooned yesterday morning in white-out conditions after an accident blocked the Long Island Expressway. Speaking to The New York Times, a police spokesman said: "Basically, since the blizzard started people have been stuck." The storm was also blamed for a 19-car pileup in Maine.

The Governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, implored residents to remain off the roads. "It's critical right now that residents stay off the roads, so that our ploughs can continue their efforts to clear our streets and highways," he said.

"This is a record-setting storm. It's going to take time to dig out of the snow. Stalled or abandoned vehicles will only slow that process. Unless you face an emergency, please stay put."

The message was reiterated by New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who asked residents of the worst-affected parts of the state to say indoors. "If you don't have to be out, don't be out, especially on Long Island," he said at a press conference yesterday morning.

New York City got away relatively unscathed, with Central Park seeing just over 11ins of snow by 6am. Moreover, the snowfall came to a halt at daybreak, allowing city authorities to press on with the task of clearing the roads.

New York's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, said the city had "dodged a bullet". "The storm certainly brought plenty of snow – about a foot in a lot of areas in New York City – but we certainly avoided the worst of it," he said, offering assistance to neighbouring regions that had been hit harder by the storm. "They have gotten an enormous amount of snow, and the snow continues to come down."

Making matters worse for many residents across the north-east were the strong winds, which gusted to more than 70 miles per hour in numerous towns and cities, causing massive snow drifts and knocking down trees and power lines. On the island of Cuttyhunk, off Cape Cod, winds reached 83mph, while speeds of more than 80mph were recorded in Westport, Connecticut.

Earlier, the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut and Maine declared states of emergency as forecasts worsened on Friday. Other states affected by the blizzard included New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, along with southern parts of the Canadian Atlantic coast.

As the weekend began, there were concerns about the impact of the winds in coastal areas, with reports of waves as high as 15ft and 20ft off the shore of Boston and Cape Cod.

Officials in Massachusetts were trying to rescue people who had lost power to their homes – but efforts were hindered by the fact that many emergency personnel were themselves stranded by the record snowfall. National Guard members were deployed in parts of the state, but only around 2,000 of the more than 5,000-strong force were reported to be on duty, with thousands still trapped at home.

In addition to restoring power, officials were also working to revive transport links suspended because of the blizzard. More than 5,300 flights were reported to have been cancelled owing to the storm. There was limited activity at New York's airports on Saturday morning, although Newark Liberty International airport, which is across the water from Manhattan, was scheduled to reopen fully after just 6ins of snow had fallen.

Further north, Logan International airport in Boston was expected to remain closed until Sunday, as crews worked to clear the snowed-in runways. Airports across the region hoped to restart services on Sunday. Amtrak trains were also suspended ahead of the storm on Friday, as were many Greyhound bus services.

Meanwhile, officials and state utilities reported around 470,000 power failures at homes and businesses across Massachusetts by early Saturday morning. Another 180,000 homes were reported to be in the dark in Rhode Island, while around 10,000 were reported to be without power on Long Island. Some 30,000 were believed to be without power in Connecticut.

The snowstorm came just days after the 35th anniversary of the devastating blizzard of 1978 which left Boston blanketed by a record of more than 27in of snow, while hurricane-force winds triggered massive snowdrifts.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little