Slow-moving nor’easter hammers East Coast, kills at least 5
A wide swath of the East Coast received the brunt of a Nor'easter on Friday as the storm left at least five dead, a path of heavy flooding, flight cancellations, and powerful winds stretching from Georgia to New England.
The National Weather Service reported that “widespread snow, rain and strong winds developed overnight,” due to the slow-moving storm. “Inland flooding from the excessive rainfall and coastal flooding from high seas/storm surge will impact much of the area from New Jersey to Massachusetts," the NWS said.
The heavy winds led to the deaths of five people in Virginia, Maryland, New York and Rhode Island, authorities said. Two of the dead were children, an 11-year-old in New York and a 6-year-old in Virginia.
Early Friday morning, a tree fell onto a Virginia home and killed Anthony Hamilton while he was sleeping, Chesterfield County Police reported. Later in the day, Putnam County Sheriff Robert L. Langley Jr. in New York said that an unidentified 11-year-old boy died when a tree fell onto his home and trapped him underneath. His mother, who was at home with the child, was hospitalized.
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Meanwhile, Newport Police in Rhode Island reported a man in his 70s died when he was struck by a wind-felled tree, Baltimore Public Safety said a 77-year-old woman was killed by a large tree branch that dropped from a tree above her, and James City County Police in Virginia said an oak tree, blown over by wind, fell and killed Shawn Gregory Walker, 44, while he was in his truck.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency stated that by late Friday morning, parts of the state had received eight inches of snowfall and could receive up to 18 inches of total snowfall throughout the duration of the storm. The National Weather Service said Friday night that unofficial spotter reports indicated Hampshire County in the western part of the state got 12 inches of snow.
"Concerns for coastal flooding will continue into Saturday with potential for high tide flooding," said NBC meteorologist Sherri Pugh.
"The coastal impacts will be the most important to watch as we move into the weekend as the effects will last even after the rain and snow come to an end. Pounding waves and beach erosion are possible even into the Saturday night high tide. Coastal New Jersey, Long Island, and coastal Massachusetts are at risk of moderate flooding," she continued.
The snow and brutal winds made flying a nightmare as some parts of New York racked up as much as two feet of snow.
Some parts of New York racked up as much as two feet of snow. John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City reported that around 25 percent of all scheduled flights on Friday had been canceled — more than 400 as of 5 p.m. on Friday — while all scheduled flights at LaGuardia Airport had also been stopped until further notice, both due to heavy rain and wind. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport reported that it had canceled over 200 flights. Meanwhile, Amtrak announced it was temporarily suspending service between Washington and Boston.
The high winds and rainfall made power failures a difficult issue.
"Those two things create an environment of power outages — downed power lines and trees blocking roadways," said Steve Bellone, county executive of Suffolk County in New York.
Many states across the Northeast were experiencing massive power outages by Friday night. New York state had more than 363,000 customers without power, the governor said.
More than 450,000 customers in Massachusetts were without power, according to the state's emergency management agency. PECO, Pennsylvania's largest electric company, said more than 80,000 of its customers were without power. Approximately 50,000 customers were without power in Ohio, according to OhioEdison.
As the winds continued to pummel the Northeast region, the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police reported that four barges attached to the Tappan Zee Bridge project came loose in the Hudson, although it was unclear if it was directly related to the storm.
Two of the vessel ran aground on the New Jersey side of the river, one sank near the Yonkers Sewer Treatment Plant and a number of commercial tugboats, the U.S. Coast Guard and the New York City Fire Department worked to secure the fourth barge, Parkway Police reported.
The storm’s impact waned in the southern part of the coast, but forecasted wind gusts of up to 70 mph still prompted building closures and delays in some areas. In Washington D.C, the Office of Personnel Management ordered that all federal offices be shuttered due to the imminent snow and wind.
Strong winds were also expected to hit the Carolinas and Georgia, with gusts as high as 40 mph possible. Minor flooding from creeks and rivers is also expected.