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Massive Power Outages As Blizzard Turns Deadly

10:01 AM, Feb 9, 2013   |    comments
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Courtesy: USA Today

(USA Today) -- A blizzard predicted to be of epic proportions is pounding the Northeast, already bringing more than 3 feet of snow to some areas and cutting power to 650,000 homes and businesses.

More than 3 feet had fallen on central Connecticut by early Saturday, and areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched 2 feet or more of snow - with more falling.

The storm is being blamed on at least four deaths in New York and Canada. In New York, a 74-year-old man died after being struck by a car in Poughkeepsie; the driver said she lost control in the snowy conditions, police said.

Hurricane-force wind gusts are sweeping the Northeast, and a gust of 76 mph was recorded at Logan airport. Blizzard warnings were posted from parts of New Jersey to Maine.

More than 5,300 flights in the region have been canceled through Saturday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

In the New York City area, John F. Kennedy Airport, LaGuardia Airport and Newark Airport were open as of 7 a.m. Saturday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Some commercial flights were expected to resume as early as 9 a.m., but carriers have canceled many flights. Travelers were urged to call ahead and check with their carriers for specific flight information.

Acela train express service between New York City and Boston remained shut down Saturday, Amtrak reported.

Southbound Northeast Regional service from Boston was expected to resume on a limited schedule at 11:40 a.m. Northbound Northeast Regional service from Penn Station in New York City was also expected to resume limited service as of 11:30 a.m., Amtrak reported.

The storm, dubbed "Nemo" by the Weather Channel, is now officially the sixth-greatest in Boston history, according to the National Weather Service. An official snow total from Boston's Logan Airport this morning registered 21.8 inches, which puts it in sixth place on the all-time list. Snow is still falling in Boston, so that number is likely to go up. The record snowfall in Boston is 27.5 from Feb. 17-18, 2003.

The storm brought a record snowfall of 29.3 inches to Portland, Maine, breaking the previous high of 27.1 inches from Jan. 17-18, 1979.

New Haven, Conn., has already seen 29.8 inches of snow and 34 inches were dumped on Hamden, Conn., according to the National Weather Service.

The blizzard dumped a preliminary total of 30.3 inches at the National Weather Service office in Upton, N.Y., on eastern Long Island.

"We may be in the top 10 (largest snowfalls in recent history) for Suffolk County, and maybe in the top five," said David Stark, a meteorologist working at the Upton office Saturday morning.

The highest snowfall total from the storm so far is in Milford, Conn., which has received 38 inches.

In New York City, the official snowfall total at Central Park is 11.4 inches. Although the storm piled significant amounts of snow on New York City, "we certainly avoided the worst of it," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Saturday morning.

Conn. Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered all roads closed statewide early Saturday.

"It's critical right now that residents stay off the roads, so that our plows can continue their efforts to clear our streets and highways," said Malloy. "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 storm stranded hundreds of motorists on highways and roads across Suffolk County on Eastern Long Island.

"We're taxed. We're still trying to rescue people in a number of places and get them home," said a spokesman for the Suffolk County Police Department Saturday morning. "We have the National Guard and the State Police helping us."

The Long Island Expressway remained closed to all but emergency and utility vehicles.

"It's very hard to get on an entrance or exit ramp right now. They're under several feet of snow," the police spokesman said.

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