Storm hammers US

2013-02-10 08:32
People walk in the snow during a lingering blizzard in Boston, Massachusetts. The powerful storm has knocked out power to 650 000 people. (Mario Tama, AFP)

People walk in the snow during a lingering blizzard in Boston, Massachusetts. The powerful storm has knocked out power to 650 000 people. (Mario Tama, AFP)

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New York - A blizzard packing hurricane-force winds hammered the northeastern United States on Saturday, cutting power to 700 000 homes and businesses, shutting down travel and leaving at least nine people dead.

The mammoth storm that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic dumped more than 90cm of snow across the Northeast, the National Weather Service said.

Coastal blizzard and flood warnings were in effect, but Massachusetts and Connecticut lifted vehicle travel bans as the storm slowly moved eastward on Saturday evening.

Stratford, Connecticut, Mayor John Harkins said he had never seen such a heavy snowfall, with rates reaching 15cm an hour.

"Even the ploughs are getting stuck," Harkins told local WTNH television.

The storm centred its fury on Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with the highest snowfall total, 102cm in Hamden, Connecticut.

Die while shovelling snow

About 2 200 flights were cancelled on Saturday, for a total of more than 5 800 over the past two days, according to FlightAware, which tracks airline delays. A few hundred additional cancellations are possible for Sunday, it said.

Boston's Logan International Airport and Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, were shut down. Logan, hit by nearly 56cm of snow, was expected to reopen at least partly later on Saturday.

The storm dumped 74cm of snow on Portland, Maine, breaking a 1979 record, the weather service said. Winds gusted to 134km/h at Cuttyhunk, New York, and brought down trees across the region.

The storm contributed to at least five deaths in Connecticut, according to Governor Dannel Malloy and police.

An 80-year-old woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver while clearing her driveway, and a 40-year-old man collapsed while shovelling snow. One man, 73, slipped outside his home and was found dead on Saturday, Malloy said.

A 53-year-old Bridgeport man was found dead in the snow on Saturday morning outside his home, and a 49-year-old man died while shovelling snow in Shelton, police said.

Two people died of carbon monoxide poisoning in separate incidents in Boston. One of the victims was an 11-year-old boy who was overcome by fumes as he sat in an idling car to keep warm, a fire official said. The other victim was a man in his early 20s who was found unresponsive in his car, police said.

Accidents

In Poughkeepsie, New York, a man in his 70s was struck and killed on a snowy roadway, local media reported. A 23-year-old man was killed in Germantown, New York, when the tractor he was using to plough his driveway rolled down an embankment, according to local media.

A 30-year-old motorist in New Hampshire died when his car went off the road, but the man's health might have been a factor in the accident, state authorities said.

Police in New York's Suffolk County, some using snowmobiles, rescued hundreds of motorists stuck overnight on the Long Island Expressway, said police spokesperson Rich Glanzer.

Emergency medical services personnel in Worcester, Massachusetts, delivered a baby girl at her mother's home at about 03:00 on Saturday with the aid of National Guard soldiers.

Even as the big storm's force was slackening, the National Weather Service warned of blizzard conditions developing in the Great Plains on Saturday and continuing into Monday.

Utility companies reported about 700 000 customers without electricity across nine states as the wet, heavy snow brought down tree branches and power lines.

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