Snow’s a ‘four-letter word’
Region socked by another big storm
Pedestrians attempt to traverse slush puddles near Pennsylvania Station, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in New York. Snow and sleet are falling on the East Coast, from North Carolina to New England, a day after sleet, snow and ice bombarded the Southeast. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A family heads for home after a morning of fun in the snow on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, as winter weather shut down Washington. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
A board listing departing flights shows cancellations to New York and Newark airports at Miami International Airport, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Miami. Some 5,000 flights have been cancelled Thursday due to bad weather in the south and northeast. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
A plow clears snow along 2nd Street NE at Market Street after a snow fall on Thursday morning, Feb. 13, 2014, in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/The Daily Progress, Ryan M. Kelly)
Snow blowing from trees swirls behind George Henzel of Winchester, Va. as he adds more snow to the air with his snow blower while clearing sidewalks for neighbors Thursday, Feb. 14, 2014. More than a foot of snow in southern and northern Virginia sandwiched the slushy center of the state Thursday. (AP Photo, The Winchester Star, Jeff Taylor)
Some brands of bread had sold out by Wednesday afternoon Feb. 12, 2014 at a Martins Grocery store east of Winchester, Va. as shoppers stock up for the expected snow storm. (AP Photo/The Winchester Star, Scott Mason)
Yet another storm paralyzed the Northeast with heavy snow and sleet yesterday, giving the winter-weary that oh-no-not-again feeling, while hundreds of thousands across the ice-encrusted South waited in the cold for the electricity to come back on.
“Snow has become a four-letter word,” lamented Tom McGarrigle, a politician in suburban Philadelphia, where shoveling out has become a weekly – sometimes twice-weekly – chore.
The sloppy and treacherous mix of snow and face-stinging sleet grounded more than 6,500 flights yesterday and closed schools and businesses as it made its way up the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor.
In its icy wake, utility crews in the South toiled to restore electricity to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, mostly in the Carolinas and Georgia.
Temperatures in the hard-hit Atlanta area, with more than 200,000 outages, were expected to drop below freezing again overnight.
At least 20 deaths, mostly in traffic accidents, were blamed on the storm.
Among the dead was a pregnant woman who was struck by a mini-plow in New York City. Her baby was delivered in critical condition via cesarean section. The victims also included a man hit by a falling tree limb in North Carolina.
Baltimore awoke to 15 inches of snow. Washington, D.C., had at least 8, and federal offices and the city’s two main airports were closed. The Virginia-West Virginia state line got more than a foot.
Philadelphia had nearly 9 inches, its fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season – the first time that has happened in the city since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. New York City received nearly 10 inches, and parts of New Jersey had more than 11.
The Boston area was expecting 4 to 6, while inland Connecticut and Massachusetts were looking at a foot or more.
In some places, the snow and freezing rain eased up during the day, but a second wave was expected overnight into today.
“It’s like a dog chasing its tail all day,” said Pat O’Pake, a plow operator in Pennsylvania.
In New Cumberland, Pa., which had about 10 inches of snow by midafternoon, Randal DeIvernois had to shovel after his snow blower conked out.
“Every time it snows, it’s like, oh, not again,” he said. “I didn’t get this much snow when I lived in Colorado. It’s warmer at the Olympics than it is here. That’s ridiculous.”
Across the South, the storm left in its wake a world of ice-encrusted trees and driveways and snapped branches and power lines.
In Bonneau, S.C., Jimmy Ward and his wife, Cherie, lost power and spent Wednesday night in their home, warming themselves in front of a gas log fire.
But after running low on propane, they headed yesterday night for a hotel, where it was expected to be cozier but a lot less exciting than the night before.
“From 2 o’clock yesterday until this morning, it just sounded like gunfire – all the trees popping and falling,” Cherie Ward said.
In North Carolina, where the storm caused huge traffic jams in the Raleigh area Wednesday as people left work and rushed to get home in the middle of the day, National Guardsmen in high-riding Humvees patrolled the snowy roads, looking for any stranded motorists.
Some roads around Raleigh remained clogged with abandoned vehicles yesterday morning.
City crews were working to tow them to safe areas where their owners could recover them.
Across the country, this is shaping up as one of the snowiest winters on record. Washington, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, New York and St. Louis have already gotten roughly two or three times as much snow as they normally receive all season.
The procession of storms and cold blasts – blamed in part on a kink in the jet stream, the high-altitude air currents that dictate weather – has cut into retail sales across the U.S., the Commerce Department reported yesterday.
Sales dipped 0.4 percent in January.
This latest round of bad weather threatens to disrupt deliveries of flowers for Valentine’s Day today.
“It’s a godawful thing,” said Mike Flood, owner of Falls Church Florist in Virginia. “We’re going to lose money. There’s no doubt about it.”
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was virtually silent, with all flights canceled. Travelers tried to catch some sleep in the terminals.