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'Life-Threatening' Cold Strikes New England

Huge winter storm rolls into the Northeast
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 20, 2019 1:55 PM CST
Julia Beebe, center, Shannon Amore, left, and Jessica Lynch brave a winter storm to keep a lunch date, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Portland, Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – A major winter storm brought some of the coldest temperatures of the season and covered a large swath of the country in snow as it wreaked havoc on air travel and caused slick road conditions throughout New England Sunday, the AP reports. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings or advisories for part or all of at least 15 states stretching from southeast Missouri to the northern tip of Maine ahead of the weekend storm. Nearly 2,000 flights were canceled around the country Sunday, with Boston's Logan Airport being one of the hardest hit, according to FlightAware, a flight tracking company. Typically bustling security lines, ticketing counters and baggage claims were largely deserted Sunday morning at Logan Airport, but some stranded passengers lingered. For more:

  • Cold awakening: Meanwhile residents along the heavily populated coast from New York to Boston awoke Sunday having largely escaped major snowfall but bracing for plummeting temperatures that will likely lead to a hard freeze and potentially dangerous conditions.
  • Rain and snow: Manhattan saw mostly rain, cities along Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts' coast recorded two to five inches, but mountainous interior communities were blanketed in fresh snow. The Adirondacks in upstate New York recorded up to 20 inches in certain areas while western Massachusetts' Berkshires saw as much as 10 inches. Parts of Vermont have registered a foot of snow and could see up to another foot by the time the storm is over.
  • Scary cold: Meteorologists warned the primary concern now is plunging temperatures that will be some of the coldest felt so far this season. Wind chills were expected to hit in the teens in the New York City area, 25 below in Albany, and down to 40 below in the Adirondacks. In New England, they're expected to fall to as low as 20 below zero around Boston, 30 below zero in the Berkshires, and as low as 35 below zero in parts of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.
  • Warnings: Officials warned people to limit their time outside to prevent frostbite and avoid treacherous travel conditions. They also said to prepare for flooding and power outages in places. "It's life-threatening," said Ray O'Keefe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. "These are dangerous conditions that we're going to be in and they're prolonged, right through tomorrow."
  • Power outage: As of Sunday at noon, utilities in Connecticut were reporting more than 19,000 customers without power and more outages were expected in the region as ice accumulated on trees and power lines.
  • Cancellations: Amtrak canceled some trains Saturday from Chicago to Washington and New York and between New York and Boston and Pennsylvania on Sunday.
  • Accidents: In Chicago, a plane skidded from a slick runway at O'Hare International Airport. No injuries were reported. In Kansas, a snowplow driver was killed when his vehicle rolled over. And in southeastern Missouri, slippery conditions caused a 15-vehicle crash on Interstate 55.
  • Origins: The powerful, wide-ranging storm was caused by the clash of an Arctic high-pressure system with a low-pressure system coming through the Ohio Valley.
(Read more winter weather stories.)

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