Winter storm hits Northeast with a weakened punch as death toll climbs

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A powerful winter storm blamed for 15 deaths in other parts of the country is bringing rain to southern New England and snow further north, but the region has been largely spared the pounding that other states took.

The storm pushed through the Upper Ohio Valley and made its way into the Northeast Wednesday night, leaving up to a foot of snow in some locations by Thursday morning. By noon, the precipitation had stopped in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, though rain continued in Massachusetts and snow continued to fall in upstate New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

Other areas were getting a messy mix of rain and snow or just rain -- enough to slow down commuters and those still heading home from holiday visits with family.

The most recently-reported storm-related deaths include two people killed Wednesday in separate crashes in Kentucky and a New York who was killed after his pickup truck skidded on an icy road in northwest Pennsylvania, also on Wednesday.

Christmas-week storm deaths by state http://bit.ly/Tlvn5F

The storm dropped about a foot in some parts of the Northeast early Thursday, a day after it dumped a record snowfall in Arkansas and ruined holiday travel plans around the region.

"The way I've been describing it is as a low-end blizzard," said John Kwiatkowski, an Indianapolis-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "But that's sort of like saying a small Tyrannosaurus rex."
The weather service says the Northeast's heaviest accumulations will be in northern Pennsylvania, upstate New York and inland sections of several New England states.

Little or no accumulation was expected in the East Coast's largest cities: New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Other areas were to get a messy mix of rain and snow or just rain -- enough to slow down commuters and those still heading home from visits with family.

In coastal areas, the storm is mostly bringing high winds and heavy rain.

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