Northeast digs out from winter storm, faces power outages
By RODRIQUE NGOWI and KATHY McCORMACK
PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Parts of New England and New York were digging out of a nor'easter Wednesday that caused tens of thousands of power outages, numerous school cancellations and whiteout conditions on the roads.
The storm began Monday night and lasted throughout Tuesday, dumping as much as 3 feet (91 centimeters) of snow and gusty winds. Others got just a few inches or a wintry mix.
Some of the highest snow totals reported were 35 inches (89 centimeters) in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and in Ashby, Massachusetts, about 15 miles away (24 kilometers), the National Weather Service said. At least 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow fell in parts of northern New York and the Catskill Mountains, with Indian Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains recording 31 inches (79 centimeters).
“It just snowed, and snowed, and snowed,” said Geoff Settles, a supervisor at a manufacturer who lives in Peterborough. “My wife and I were helping some of the neighbors dig out. Literally, we had to shovel five and six different times just to keep it from being basically up to our chest.”
Settles, who grew up in Leominster, Massachusetts, remembered blizzards there in the late 1970s. “I would say this is the most snow I've seen all my life,” he said Wednesday.
In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, which got at least 18 inches (45 centimeters) of snow, Michael Garvey was using his snow blower to clear his sidewalk and help a neighbor dig out his driveway.
“I've lived here my whole life and I've seen some snowstorms in April, so it doesn't surprise me at all,” the 71-year-old retired Berkshire County Sheriff's Office worker said. "We got teased a couple of weeks ago when the temperature was in the '50s, but back to winter.”
About 67,000 customers in the region were remained without power by Wednesday evening, according to the PowerOutage.us tracking site.
“We are still expecting this to be a multiday restoration effort,” Unitil spokesperson Alec O'Meara said. Crews from New York and Pennsylvania arrived to help bring back power in parts of Massachusetts and help assess damage from trees and downed lines.
In a dramatic overnight rescue, a search team located two hikers stranded in heavy snow in Massachusetts’ Mount Washington State Forest.
The two male hikers, ages 47 and 53, had hoped to reach a cabin but called 911 on Tuesday night and said they could no longer see trail markings. Rescuers first attempted to use snowmobiles, but the snow was too deep and the six-person team — including two troopers from the State Police Special Emergency Response Team, three local firefighters, and a park ranger — set out on foot.
After trudging through snow for more than two hours, the searchers found the hikers at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday and led them out of the woods just before dawn.
In Maine, game wardens rescued a couple and two children who became stranded on ice Tuesday on Moosehead Lake, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
A 31-year-old woman and 32-year-old man were ice fishing with children ages 5 and 2, and their dog, when the weather started to worsen.
The woman left first with the older child and dog on a snowmobile. The man picked up their gear, and planned to follow with the toddler. The woman's snowmobile broke down, and because of whiteout conditions, the man couldn't see well enough to drive to her. Both called 911. Maine Advanced Warden School wardens and trainees already in the area found the groups and got everyone to shore in about 45 minutes.
There were concerns about roofs weighed down by the snow. An inflatable sports arena dome collapsed in Goffstown, New Hampshire, which received about 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow. It wasn't immediately known whether anyone was inside at the time or if there were any injuries.
Several cows were killed when a barn collapsed at a dairy farm in Dracut, Massachusetts. The owners of Shaw Farm said in a statement that they “experienced one of life’s unexpected challenges,” adding that no staff members were hurt.
During the worst of the storm on Tuesday, about 2,100 flights traveling to, from or within the U.S. were canceled, with Boston and New York City area airports seeing the highest number of scrubbed flights, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. Numerous schools had been closed; many ran on a delayed schedule Wednesday.
Some were able to find a bright side to all the snow.
On Wednesday a parking lot in the Sterling Valley section of Stowe, Vermont, was filled with vehicles of people enjoying the area known for its network of backcountry ski trails.
Amherst College students Allison Lounsbury, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and Dan Dachille, of Saddle River, New Jersey, made it to Vermont on Tuesday for spring break during the storm and were enjoying the winter weather Wednesday getting cross country ski lessons from John Beattie of Umiak Outdoors.
The three of them were enjoying the deep snow.
“People need to remember, winter can be fun,” Beattie said before leading the two students into the snow.
As residents in the Northeast dealt with the storm’s aftermath, forecasters warned of more flooding and potentially damaging winds as a new atmospheric river pushed into a swamped California. So far this winter, California has been battered by 10 previous atmospheric rivers, long plumes of moisture from the Pacific Ocean, as well as powerful storms fueled by arctic air that produced blizzard conditions.
McCormack reported from Concord, New Hampshire.
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