US, Canada dig out after snowstorm; death toll 15
PROVIDENCE — More than 220,000 homes and businesses remain remained without power Sunday as the U.S. Northeast and Canada dug out from a blizzard that dumped up to 3 feet (a meter) of snow on the most densely populated part of the region. The death toll was at 15.
Some motorists had to be rescued after spending hours stuck in wet, heavy snow. Utilities in some hard-hit New England states predicted that the storm could leave some customers in the dark at least until Tuesday. About 650,000 lost power in eight states at the height of the storm.
“We’ve never seen anything like this,” said county official Steven Bellone of New York’s Long Island, where hundreds of drivers had been caught on highways by Friday’s fast-moving storm. Local police said Sunday that all known abandoned cars were searched and no one needing medical help was found.
At least 11 deaths in the U.S. and four in Canada were blamed on the snowstorm, including an 11-year-old boy in Boston who was overcome by carbon monoxide as he sat in a running car to keep warm while his father shoveled Saturday morning.
Roads were impassable, and cars were entombed by snow drifts. Some people couldn’t open the doors of their homes.
“It’s like lifting cement,” said Michael Levesque, who was shoveling snow in Massachusetts.
Blowing with hurricane-force winds, the storm hit hard along the heavily populated corridor between New York City and Maine.
Most outages were in hard-hit Massachusetts, where some 180,000 customers remained without power on Sunday, officials said some of the outages might linger until Tuesday.
New York City’s three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, New Jersey — were up and running by late Saturday morning after shutting down the evening before. Boston’s Logan Airport resumed operations late Saturday night.
At New York’s Fashion Week, women tottered on 4-inch heels through the snow to get to the tents to see designers’ newest collections.
In Massachusetts, the National Guard and Worcester emergency workers teamed up to deliver a baby at the height of the storm at the family’s home. Everyone was fine.
Boston recorded 24.9 inches (630 millimeters) of snow, making it the fifth-largest storm in the city since records were kept. The city was appealing to the state and private contractors for more front-end loaders and other heavy equipment to clear snow piles that were clogging residential streets.
Far east of New York city on eastern Long Island, which was slammed with as much as 30 inches (760 millimeters) of snow, hundreds of snowplows and other heavy equipment were sent in Sunday to clear ice- and drift-covered highways where hundreds of people and cars were abandoned during the height of the storm.
Hundreds of cars were stuck on roads, including the Long Island Expressway, a 27-mile (43-kilometer) stretch of which was closed Sunday for snow-removal work. Officials hoped to have most major highways cleared in time for the morning commute Monday.
The U.S. Postal Service said that mail delivery that was suspended in the six New England states, as well as parts of New York and New Jersey, because of the snowstorm would resume Monday, where it is safe to do so.
The National Weather Service was forecasting rain and warmer temperatures in the region on Monday — which could begin melting some snow but also add considerable weight to snow already piled on roofs, posing the danger of collapse. Of greatest concern were flat or gently-sloped roofs and officials said people should try to clear them — but only if they could do so safely.