Weather

Northeast digs out from snow, travel delays

Posted January 22

— Northeasterners scraped and shoveled Wednesday after a snowstorm grounded flights, shuttered schools and buried roads with a surprising amount of snow, leaving biting cold in its wake. The atmosphere was particularly frosty in New York, where some residents complained that plowing was spotty and schools were open while children elsewhere in the region stayed home.

The storm stretched from Kentucky to New England but hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. As much as 14 inches of snow fell in Philadelphia, with New York City seeing almost as much, before tapering off. Temperatures were in the single digits in many places Wednesday and not expected to rise out of the teens.

As she arrived at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Jeanne Shutt was pleased to see just coating of snow on the grass. "From the sky I could see there was about an inch of snow here, so it's not bad compared to where I've been," she said.

Shutt made the trip, a day later than she originally planned, from Philadelphia.

"It just snowed and snowed and snowed," she said. "The city has 14 inches and out where I live, which is slightly west of the city, we have 12 inches."

Sarid Shefet was trying to get out of Raleigh Wednesday but found himself waiting because the weather was worse elsewhere. But he kept his positive attitude.

"Delay, delay, delay, cancellation, cancellation and then delays. So, it's OK," he said. By day's end, Shefet learned he'd have to fly to Philadelphia instead of his intended destination of JFK in New York.

"With these large-scale winter weather events, sometimes it does take a couple of days for the flight schedule to even back out," said RDU spokesman Andrew Sawyer.

The storm was blamed for at least one death — a driver was ejected from a car that fishtailed into the path of a tractor-trailer on a snow-covered Maryland road — and might have claimed more lives. Authorities were investigating three suspected weather-related deaths in Pennsylvania's Delaware County, outside Philadelphia; a preliminary investigation showed weather conditions played a role in a two-vehicle crash that killed two people in Prince George's County, Md.; and police said the storm may have factored in a deadly tractor-trailer wreck in Frederick County, Va.

Schoolchildren had the day off elsewhere, including in Boston, Philadelphia and many parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, upstate New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. Federal workers in Washington got a two-hour delay in their work days Wednesday after a day off Tuesday because of the snow.

While Boston got only about 4 inches of snow, other parts of Massachusetts were socked with as many as 18 inches.

On Cape Cod, a blizzard warning in effect through Wednesday afternoon kept business brisk at Aubuchon Hardware in Sandwich, where salt and snow shovels were popular.

"The flow of customers is pretty steady, but everyone waits until the worst of the storm to start worrying," manager Jeff Butland said.

About 1,400 flights were canceled Wednesday into and out of some of the nation's busiest airports, including in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, according to according to Flightaware. That was down from about 3,000 flights the day before.

"I expected delays, and I just roll with the punches so to speak," said Brian Chamberlain, who arrived Wednesday in the Triangle from Boston.

The storm was a conventional one that developed off the coast and moved up the Eastern Seaboard, pulling in cold air from the Arctic. Unlike the epic freeze of two weeks ago, it was not caused by a kink in the polar vortex, the winds that circulate around the North Pole.

3 Comments

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  • a sports fan Jan 22, 5:54 p.m.

    Upper East Side is not the new Mayor's target audience. I'm surprised he didn't tell them to pound sand....

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jan 22, 11:07 a.m.

    Yep, nothing short of the usual disappointment round here.

  • davido Jan 22, 9:24 a.m.

    You could almost tell it snowed in Chapel Hill. This was NOT the blizzard I ordered!