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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?