Nine perish in snowstorms

BOSTON – A winter storm that dropped nearly two feet of snow just north of Boston, temporarily shut down major highways in New York and Pennsylvania and forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights nationwide menaced the north-east today with howling winds and dangerously cold temperatures. The storm was blamed for at least nine deaths in the eastern half of the country.

The nor’easter – which brought plummeting temperatures that reached eight degrees below zero in Burlington, Vermont, early today with a wind chill of 29 below zero – dumped 23 inches of snow in Boxford, Massachussetts, by early today and 18 inches in parts of western New York near Rochester. Thirteen inches of snow fell in Boston, while Lakewood, New Jersey, got ten inches and New York’s Central Park, six.

On a mostly empty Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire, Kathy Woodfin hustled to work, a tall iced coffee turning to caramel-colored slush in her left hand. It was seven degrees at 9 a.m. and the wind zipping through alleyways blew a fine, stinging snow in her face.

“I just run from heated car to heated building,” the New Hampshire native said. “It’s just like down south, where they run from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned building.”

The snowfall, frigid temps and stiff winds extended the holiday break for some students in the north-east for a second day while posing the first test for New York City’s new mayor and perhaps the last challenge for Boston’s outgoing one.

United States airlines cancelled more than 2,300 flights yesterday because of the snowfall and low visibility. By this

Travellers leaving the Back Bay train and subway station during a winter nor’easter snow storm in Boston, Massachusetts today.

morning, about 1,600 flights had been cancelled nationwide, according to the aviation tracking website

Workers at a convenience store in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, said they were busy all night as they fuelled plow drivers with coffee and other necessities.

Among those stopping in as the snow continued to fall before dawn was David Neff, a newspaper deliveryman.

“It sucks out here,” Neff said. “They’re just starting to plough stuff. We definitely got what they said and maybe a little more.”

Forecasters had said much of New Jersey would get four to eight inches.

Snow began falling overnight Wednesday in parts of New England and New York state, but the brunt of the storm began late yesterday. Forecasters warned that gusts of up to 30 miles per hour could bring wind chills to minus 25 degrees, cold enough to cause frostbite in about 30 minutes or less. The weather service said people should dress warmly to avoid hypothermia and cover all exposed skin.

Governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency yesterday, urging residents to stay home. State and county government offices in Delaware were closed today. Massachusetts’ Governor Deval Patrick said state offices that closed early yesterday would remain closed today. He said this morning he was concerned about coastal flooding at the midday high tide and “extreme” low temperatures expected to continue into the night. (AP)

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