PORTLAND, Maine >> Plow trucks and shovelers in the Northeast attacked the region’s newest winter storm today as fresh powder covered ever-growing snow piles and whiteout conditions made roads unsafe, immobilizing millions of residents.
Winter storm warnings were in effect from upstate New York to Maine, where blizzard conditions took hold and more than 2 feet of snow fell in some areas. Snow and high wind gusts also were reported in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the New York City area.
At least one death has been called weather-related. In Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, a coroner said high winds took down a tree branch that crashed through a driver’s windshield and led to the man’s death. Wind also
Cumberland County Coroner Charley Hall said Shannon Lee Martin, 22, died early today after going into cardiac arrest at a hospital outside Harrisburg. Authorities also were investigating whether injuries in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island could be attributed to the weather.
Just north of New York City, a Metro-North train struck a fallen tree, damaging the train and hampering service for hours, but causing no injuries. About 100 passengers were onboard. And in Queens, the canopy of a gas station was ripped down as winds gusted up to 60 mph in some areas.
State officials in New Hampshire and Maine urged people to stay off the roads to avoid whiteout conditions; a number of crashes were reported from Sunday through this afternoon.
“We just want to remind people to be smart and be safe,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said, warning residents to watch for children playing in snowbanks because plow truck drivers might not see them.
Schools around the region delayed or canceled classes, including in Boston and some areas across New York state.
By early afternoon today, snow totals in Maine included 25 inches in Starks, 20 inches in Harpswell and 15 inches in Kennebunk. In New Hampshire, 14 inches had fallen in Ossipee and a foot covered Berlin. Scattered power outages were reported overnight, and the forecast of strong winds and coastal flooding remained a concern.
There were reports that thunder and lightning accompanied snow in Nobleboro, Maine. The Mountain Washington Avalanche Center issued an extreme avalanche danger warning on two trails. Snow still was falling in much of Maine by afternoon.
Nearly all flights in and out of the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, were canceled. The airport in Portland, Maine, also was closed.
A spokeswoman for Central Maine Power said about 800 power outages were reported by mid-day. Most are around Waldo County, which was predicted to have the biggest snowfall and the fastest wind speeds.
The new snow comes on the heels of a series of other storms, including one last week that dumped 19 inches on parts of Maine.
One of the big questions for residents: Where is all the snow going to go?
Raychell Libby, from Portland, walked through a path that had been cut through the snow, piled hip-high.
“I really love the paths that are made afterward,” she said as she chugged along and walked Logan, her 7-year-old Catahoula mix. “It’s kind of like a winter wonderland.”
Boston was largely spared large accumulations. Still, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged residents to avoid driving and to use public transportation.
In northern New England, the storm was welcome news at ski areas, which last year faced some of the lowest snowfall totals in years. The ski area was forecast to get up to 26 inches of snow by the end of the day.
And in Vermont, the governor declared today a “Powder Day,” urging winter weather enthusiasts to take advantage of the snow. Gov. Phil Scott encouraged out-of-state skiers and snowmobilers to stay an extra day or two in Vermont and take advantage of the conditions.
“And while I can’t grant official pardons out-of-state, I certainly hope all will be granted a ‘snow day’ pardon. Visitors can feel free to tell their boss Vermont’s governor asked them to stay,” Scott said.
Associated Press writers Marina Villeneuve in Portland, Maine; Holly Ramer in Hopkinton, New Hampshire; and Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.