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Busy winter storm brings snow, cold to Northeast

Winter Weather

BOSTON (AP) - A blustering post-Christmas snowstorm that has dropped nearly 2 feet of snow just north of Boston, shut down major highways in New York and forced U.S. airlines to cancel thousands of flights nationwide is continuing its bitter cold journey through the Northeast.

The brutal weather - which brought plummeting temperatures to some areas that forecasters predicted could see highs just above zero and wind chill readings of minus 10 degrees and colder by early Friday - dumped 21 inches of snow in Boxford, Mass., late Thursday night and 18 inches in parts of western New York near Rochester. In Central Park early Friday, the National Weather Service said just over 3 inches of snow had fallen.

The snowfall, frigid cold and stiff winds extended Christmas break for some students while posing the first test for New York City's new mayor and perhaps the last challenge for Boston's outgoing one.

U.S. airlines canceled more than 2,300 flights due to snowfall and low visibility.

"It's been a tough road," said traveler Heather Krochuk, of Toronto, Canada, inside a Boston hotel Thursday night after her flight home out of Logan International Airport got canceled in what's turned into a 36-hour trip from Seattle, where she spent Christmas with her husband, Ron.

But, she said, "we have a place to sleep that isn't the airport."

Snow began falling overnight Wednesday in parts of New England and New York state, but the brunt of the storm began late Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Cape Cod, coastal areas north and south of Boston and part of Maine as well as New York's Long Island.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said state offices that closed early Thursday would remain closed on Friday. He said National Guard members and state police were on standby for any high tide flooding in vulnerable coastal areas, but no mandatory evacuations had been ordered.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered three major highways in his state, stretching from Long Island to Albany, closed overnight. The highways were expected to reopen at 5 a.m. Friday.

As of late Thursday in Connecticut, about 3 inches of snow had fallen in Hartford County, and 3 inches were reported in East Hartford and Simsbury. Parts of New Hampshire had 5.5 inches, and areas of Rhode Island had more than 2.

Outreach teams looked to get homeless people off the frigid streets of New York City and Boston.

Staff members at the Pine Street Inn were keeping the Boston shelter open 24 hours and said they would turn no one away, even if it meant setting up extra cots in lobbies and other common areas.

The heavy weather began rolling in just a day after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in to lead the nation's largest city and a few days before Boston Mayor Thomas Menino ends 20 years in office on Monday.

De Blasio, who as public advocate in 2010 criticized his predecessor Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his handling of a large snowstorm, dispatched hundreds of plows and salt spreaders on the streets as soon as the snow started falling Thursday night. Forecasters said that while only 3 inches of snow had fallen in Central Park by early Friday, up to 8 inches were still expected in the city.

"If you don't need to go out, please don't go out," de Blasio said at a press conference Thursday evening, urging residents to use mass transit. "Stay off the streets, stay out of your cars."

Across the region, state and local police were busy responding to accidents and reports of stranded vehicles.

Amtrak planned to run trains on all of its Northeast lines on Friday but operate on a modified schedule, spokeswoman Christina Leeds said.

As the storm approached, a worker at a suburban Philadelphia 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. There was no word on what may have caused the accident.

Douglass Bibule shopped for rock salt and other supplies at a home improvement store in Watertown, N.Y.

"Well, there will be some shoveling that I will have to do and some sanding," he said. "I've got to go home and do some stretching exercises to make sure I don't hurt myself while doing that, and do a little shopping to make sure that we have all the supplies that we need. We need food because we have three older children at home."

The snowstorm worked its way east from the Midwest, where it dropped up to a foot of snow on Michigan and more than a foot in parts of Illinois, prompting the cancellation Thursday of hundreds of flights at both Chicago airports.

Nearly 17 inches of snow fell in some of Chicago's northern suburbs, and more than 12 inches of snow was recorded at Midway International Airport.

Join the discussion

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tuandinhvuinhawaii January 03 2014 at 7:02 AM

Keep warm and stay safe, everyone!

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I LOVE YOU MOM! January 03 2014 at 8:30 AM

I retired to Florida to be near my daughter & grandson after living over 40 years in Washington State, near the foothills of Mt Rainier. Used to laugh when the weather would report Seattle/Tacoma got 7 inches of snow & I could see 12 to 16 inches on my deck. I just stayed home when there was heavy snow. Had a gas oven & a gas hot water tank & a 4 ft opening in the fireplace with a raised-hearth (chair height hearth) for when the electricity went out, which was several times a month in winter, often for four or five days at a time. Fallen trees on power lines was usually the cause. One year 13 trees got blown down on our property alone. Walking to the road, there were trees across the paved road as far as you could see. I still miss Washington. I love living near my daughter but hate all the bugs in Florida. Had to find a place with room for my old horse (34) here so that means out in the country again with all the bugs.

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greasemonkey I LOVE YOU MOM! January 03 2014 at 8:43 AM

I can see why you would miss living in such a beautiful place. I miss Maine.

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1 reply
I LOVE YOU MOM! greasemonkey January 03 2014 at 8:56 AM

Why did you leave Maine? Where did you relocate to? I was born in Providence and lived in East Greenwich until I was five. I go back occasionally to see relatives and love New England. Would enjoy living there too but choose to live in nasty Florida to be near my daughter.

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Abusymomof4 January 03 2014 at 8:30 AM

Whomever is affected by this - make sure you check up on your neighbors, especially the elderly, and take care of the animals - we will all get through this, and it will be spring again!

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drbonniejacobson January 03 2014 at 8:31 AM

why not clean the roads in manhattan. the last mayor would have the roads pristine by now.

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Ronni January 03 2014 at 8:40 AM

Highlands, NJ has a lot of snow. Did you forget NJ?

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claudius1260 January 03 2014 at 8:40 AM

It's winter! In the Northeast and Midwest, it's cold and snow! The media has to talk about something!
Let everyone enjoy their winter sports! Have fun everyone! Just drive carefully getting there.

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bert1496 January 03 2014 at 8:41 AM

I'm living in toronto Canada,for the pass 37 years and have seen harsh weathers,from time to time.
But this one is exceptioal,that I've never experience,freezing rain in any form as this.I'm having the thrill of my life,how ever I'm not complaining,only complying,and giving thanks always,and showing my deepest (GRATITUDE) for the existance of life.To my God be praise honor,dominion and power.

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Donna January 03 2014 at 8:41 AM

Wish I was there, love a good snow storm. Don't like losing power, but we usually didn't. Live in Florida now for the winter, but I sure miss winters in New England.

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dvdfrnzwbr January 03 2014 at 8:48 AM

Cold enough to make a scrotum feels like a walnut

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Richard January 03 2014 at 8:49 AM

WINTER ON CAPE COD.....................YOU CAN HAVE IT ............RATHER BE ON A WARM SUNNY BEACH

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1 reply
Hello Annefrost1 Richard January 03 2014 at 8:52 AM

Warm sunny beachis calling my name.

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