Another big storm bears down on US northeast

2015-02-08 22:34
A winter storm slammed into the US Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 60cm of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions. (Mike Groll, AP)

A winter storm slammed into the US Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 60cm of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions. (Mike Groll, AP)

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Boston - Winter-weary residents of the US northeast, which has been battered recently by a series of major snowstorms, braced on Sunday for even more.

Light flurries fell in the morning, but the "long duration" storm is expected to intensify on Sunday night. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for parts of New York state and much of the northeastern New England states through early Tuesday.

The snow is likely to cause problems for commuters on Monday, though it's not expected to accumulate as rapidly as in some of the earlier storms, including a record-busting late January blizzard. There also is little risk seen of significant coastal flooding, a problem during last month's winter blasts.

As more flakes fell, all Michelle Currie could do was post on her Facebook page a photo of a weather map showing up to 45cm of fresh snow that may fall on her home.

"I have to laugh because otherwise I may cry," said Michelle Currie of Dracut, Massachusetts, a mother of five whose kids have already missed several days of school.

Boston's transit system, the nation's oldest, has been particularly hard hit. The build-up of snow and ice on trolley tracks combined with ageing equipment has stalled trains in recent days, delaying and angering commuters. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority general manager Beverly Scott said on Saturday that crews were doing everything they could, including deploying massive jet-powered snow blowers, to clear tracks before the next storm.

Governor Charlie Baker acknowledged on Friday that the MBTA was handed an extraordinary situation with old equipment,  but said the system's overall performance was unacceptable.

In many New England communities, the obvious problem is where to put the next batch of snow.

David Lombari, public works director for West Warwick, Rhode Island, told the Providence Journal his town was already clogged with snow piles several feet high and school buses were parked in the usual snow storage lot.

Adding injury to insult perhaps, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency warned that potentially record cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to move into the region later in the week after the storm.

Not everyone was dreading the blast of winter.

Business has been brisk at Charles Street Supply hardware in Boston, where owner Jack Gurnon sells shovels, salt and sleds. He drove to Portland, Maine, to stock up so he'd be able to meet demand when the next storm came.

"We actually have a lot of supply right now, and we're lucky because the big box stores, they're scrambling around, and I'm sitting on a whole bunch right now," Gurnon said.

But an increase in sales isn't all he is looking forward to. "I also love to ski, so as soon as this next mess is over with, I'm taking off and going north," he said.

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