US weather: Bomb cyclone brings death and devastation with power cuts to nearly two million homes as it moves offshore

Winds, rain and snow expected to ease up over the weekend but major flooding still a risk

Peter Stubley
Saturday 03 March 2018 13:12
Street flooded in Boston after Storm Riley hits northeast US

The “bomb cyclone” storm lashing the north-east United States left at least six people dead and cut power to more than 1.8 million homes and business as it slowly moved offshore.

Trees brought down on houses by winds of up to 90mph killed two boys aged six and 11 in separate incidents in Putnam Valley, New York, and Chester, Virginia.

The younger of the two boys was identified locally as Anthony Hamilton, and described as “having the biggest heart of any six-year-old you’ll ever meet”, after he was fatally injured while sleeping in the top bunk at his family’s mobile home.

Two motorists were crushed in their vehicles by falling trees on Route 15 near Stamford in Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island.

A 77 year-old woman was also killed by a large tree branch felled by strong winds as she checked her mail in Kingsville, Maryland.

The National Weather Service in Boston reported wind gusts as high as 93mph, rainfall of up 5.76 inches and snowfall of up to 12 inches in different parts of Massachusetts.

The winds are predicted to ease up over the weekend, and the rain and snow are expected to come to an end later this morning – but major flooding is still expected with the midday high tide.

Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Centre, said Eastern Massachusetts and Boston could still experience “a significant coastal flood event”.

Cars were submerged by waters in Quincy, Massachusetts, on Friday and police had to rescue people trapped in their vehicles.

More than 2,800 flights were cancelled and LaGuardia and Kennedy airports in New York City were brought to a near standstill.

President Donald Trump, who travelled to North Carolina for the funeral of the preacher Rev Billy Graham, was forced to fly out of Dulles instead of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is housed, because of high winds.

Amtrak suspended service along the Northeast Corridor, from Washington to Boston.

The governors of Maryland and Virginia declared states of emergency due to the conditions.

“This is one of the more extreme storms in recent memory in terms of coastal flooding and damaging wind potential along the coast, but also includes heavy wet snow and heavy rain as important factors”, said the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The storm is considered a ‘nor’easter’ – which occurs when the atmospheric pressure of the storm drops below 24 millibars in 24 hours. It is the second such major storm to hit the east coast this year.

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