BOSTON — A storm that forecasters warned could be a blizzard for the history books, with a potential for up to 3 feet of snow, clobbered the New York-to-Boston corridor on Friday, grounding flights and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers across the Northeast.
By Friday evening, more than 14 inches of snow had fallen in Belmont, Mass., just northwest of Boston, and more than 13 inches covered parts of northeastern Connecticut. Throughout the Northeast, about 350,000 homes and businesses lost electricity as wet, heavy snow, freezing rain and howling winds caused havoc.
Earlier, as meteorologists warned of the impending blizzard conditions, shoppers from New Jersey to Maine crowded into supermarkets and hardware stores to buy food, snow shovels, flashlights and generators, something that became a precious commodity after Superstorm Sandy in October. Others gassed up their cars, another lesson learned all too well after Sandy. Across much of New England, schools closed well ahead of the first snowflakes.
"This is a storm of major proportions," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said. "Stay off the roads. Stay home."
The wind-whipped snowstorm mercifully arrived at the start of a weekend, which meant fewer cars on the road and extra time for sanitation crews to clear the mess before commuters in the New York-to-Boston region of roughly 25 million people have to go back to work. But it could also mean a weekend cooped up indoors.
Rainy Neves, a mother of two in Cambridge, just west of Boston, did some last-minute shopping at a grocery store, filling her cart to the brim.
"Honestly, a lot of junk – a lot of quick things you can make just in case lights go out, a lot of snacks to keep the kids busy while they'd be inside during the storm, things to sip with my friends, things for movies," she said. "Just a whole bunch of things to keep us entertained."
In heavily Catholic Boston, the archdiocese urged parishioners to be prudent about attending Sunday Mass and reminded them that, under church law, the obligation "does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation."
Halfway through what had been a mild winter across the Northeast, blizzard warnings were posted from parts of New Jersey to Maine. The National Weather Service said Boston could get close to 3 feet of snow by Saturday evening, while most of Rhode Island could receive more than 2 feet, most of it falling overnight Friday into Saturday. Connecticut was bracing for 2 feet, and New York City was expecting as much as 14 inches. East of New York City, nearly a foot of snow had fallen before midnight Friday.
Early snowfall was blamed for a 19-car pileup in Cumberland, Maine, that caused minor injuries. Most of the region's power outages were in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Forecasters said wind gusts up to 75 mph could cause more widespread power outages and whip the snow into fearsome drifts. Flooding was expected along coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, which hit New York and New Jersey the hardest and is considered Jersey's worst natural disaster.
Meteorologist Jeff Masters, of Weather Underground, said the winter storm was a collision of two storms and may end up among the Boston area's Top 5 most intense ever.
"When you add two respectable storms together, you're going to get a knockout punch with this one," he said.
It could break Boston's all-time snowstorm record of 27.6 inches, set in 2003, forecasters said. The storm also comes almost 35 years to the day after the Blizzard of '78, a ferocious storm that dropped 27 inches of snow, packed hurricane-force winds and claimed dozens of lives.
Masters said the region could get a break from warmer air trailing behind that is expected to push temperature up to the 40s by Monday.
"It's going to be not that difficult to dig out, compared to maybe some other nor'easters in the past, where it stayed cold after the storm went through," he said.
Drivers were urged to stay off the streets lest their cars get stuck, preventing snowplows and emergency vehicles from getting through. New York City ran extra commuter trains to help people get home before the brunt of the storm hit.
Amtrak stopped running trains in cities around the Northeast on Friday afternoon. Airlines canceled more than 4,300 flights through Saturday, and New York City's three major airports and Boston's Logan Airport shut down.
Interstate 95 was closed to all but essential traffic in Rhode Island, where the governor said power outages remained the biggest threat.
"With tree branches laden with heavy, wet snow, the winds picking up and the temperatures plunging all at the same time, it's a bad combination," Gov. Lincoln Chafee said.
In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick enacted a statewide driving ban for the first time since the Blizzard of `78. Hours before the ban went into effect at 4 p.m., long lines formed at gas stations, some of which were almost out of fuel.
James Stone said he was saving the remaining regular gas at his station in Abington, south of Boston, for snowplow drivers.
"It hasn't snowed like this in two years," Stone said. "Most people are caught way off-guard."
In New York, Fashion Week, a series of designer showings with some activities held under tents, went on mostly as scheduled, though organizers put on additional crews to deal with the snow and ice, turned up the heat and fortified the tents. The snow did require some wardrobe changes: Designer Michael Kors was forced to arrive at the Project Runway show in Uggs.
For Joe DeMartino, of Fairfield, Conn., being overprepared was impossible: His wife was expecting their first baby Sunday. He stocked up on gas and food, got firewood ready and was installing a baby seat in the car. The couple also packed for the hospital.
"They say that things should clear up by Sunday. We're hoping that they're right," he said.
Said his wife, Michelle: "It adds an element of excitement."
The snow was too much of a good thing in some places. In New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut's Skiing Carnival was canceled because of the snowstorm. In Maine, the National Toboggan Championships in Camden were postponed from Saturday to Sunday, and the Camp Sunshine Polar Plunge was put off until March.
At Rosie's Liquors in Abington, customers were lined up eight to 10 deep Friday, snapping up rum, wine and 30-packs of beer.
"We've been absolutely slammed. It's almost been like Christmas here," manager Kristen Brown said. "A lot of people are saying, `I'm going to be stuck with my family all weekend. I need something to do.'"
Associated Press writers Denise Lavoie in Whitman, Rodrique Ngowi in Watertown, John Christoffersen in Fairfield, Conn., and Bob Salsberg in Boston contributed to this report.
|@ wunderground : Number of customers without power is down to 480,000 #blizzard|
|@ alroker : LIE will be closed in both directions from exit 57-73 on Sunday Feb. 10 from 7 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. for snow removal from #Nemo|
|@ 7News : Some Plum Island homes may be a lost cause after #Blizzard2013: http://t.co/CX8kXoPy #7News #Blizzard2013|
|@ greenpeaceusa : What do #climate scientists have to say about #blizzard #nemo? Find out: http://t.co/BM9y7uCU|
|@ nationalgridus : Be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Symptoms include: headaches, weakness and dizziness. If you suspect CO, go outside & call 911.|
|@ 7News : Mass. National Guard, EMT deliver baby in storm and her nickname is "Little Nemo" http://t.co/7pMAfFc2 #7News #Blizzard2013|
Credit: HuffPost User: Nerissa
Boston fire officials said a second person died Saturday after apparently being poisoned by carbon monoxide while sitting in his vehicle.
Firefighters were called to a Woolson Street home in Mattapan after reports that a man had been sitting in a running vehicle since 11 a.m. After getting no response, crews broke the window and discovered that the man was dead.
Fire officials said he died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Earlier in the day, a 12-year-old boy died after he and his father were poisoned by carbon monoxide while shoveling out their vehicle in Dorchester.
|@ NSTAR_News : Sorry, we won't have estimates tonight but we'll post them ASAP. In the meantime, our Outage Map has real-time updates. http://t.co/KNXejYtW|
|@ wunderground : RT @NBCConnecticut: Gov. Malloy has asked President Obama for an Emergency Declaration #blizzard|
|@ NotifyNYC : Sun 2/10, Amtrak to restore limited service btw NYC & Boston. Empire Service to Albany will operate a normal Sun schedule.|
|@ GovMalloyOffice : Bottom line: Unless you need to travel somewhere, stay put tonight. Ppl who get stuck on the roads block the plows from doing their jobs|
|@ nationalgridus : #RI was heavily damaged by #Nemo, & restoration is moving as fast as possible. As of 5PM, we've restored nearly 25% of customers w/outages.|
|@ wunderground : Did you know another blizzard is going the U.S. this weekend? This one is in the Plains. http://t.co/4BoH87Hz|
|@ Maine_Weather : ...BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM EST THIS EVENING... A BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM ES http://t.co/k3iWICYf|
|@ breakingstorm : Update: 9 deaths from Northeast blizzard confirmed, including 5 in Connecticut - @NBCNews http://t.co/jYDqzytU|
According to utility figures compiled by CNN, 592,688 customers are without power in nine U.S. states. Massachusetts has the highest number, at 376,682.
|@ GovMalloyOffice : At this point, we have reports of at least 5 fatalities in the state. #CTStorm|
Firefighters were involved in a dramatic rescue at a local farm on Saturday after heavy snow caused a dairy barn to partially collapse, trapping two dozen milking cows underneath it.
At least two of the animals had to be euthanized, officials confirmed this afternoon.
Firefighters from the Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company responded to Triangle A Ranch at 334 Jackson Hill Road shortly before 11 a.m., just hours after the storm finished dumping about three feet of snow on the town.
Using shovels, heavy machinery and even their hands, firefighters cleared snow from the twisted metal as they attempted to reach the trapped animals.
Five cows were safely rescued, according to officials, but two other animals pulled from the debris were euthanized due to the extent of their injuries. Two other cows were in critical condition and were expected to be euthanized as well, officials said.
Full story on Middlefield Patch.
1. MORE THAN 650,000 LOST POWER IN NEW ENGLAND
Even the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., had to shut down and turn to backup generators.
2. GUSTS HIT 82 MPH, BUT OUTAGES COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE
With leaves gone, damage to power lines from falling branches was less than it might have been.
|@ breakingweather : Reports coming in that all Boston transit will be closed until Monday.|
|@ GovMalloyOffice : Gov. Malloy will hold a news briefing w/ updates on storm recovery tonight at 6PM. Watch it live online: http://t.co/WNoQW9w0 #CTStorm|
HuffPost's Katherine Bindley reports:
Ahead of the snowfall that inundated the East Coast Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the city’s Department of Homeless Services to double efforts to connect the city’s unsheltered with a warm place to sleep. But for those needing help with other basics, like food, the snow seems to have complicated the quest for help.
Read the whole story here.
Middlefield firefighters, Durham firefighters and members of Durham's Animal Rescue Team are on the scene of a barn collapse and animal rescue on Jackson Hill Road.
At least two cows have been rescued from the collapsed barn and firefighters are attempting to rescue at least three more. The extent of any injuries to the animals is unclear at this point.
Firefighters believe as many as 12 cows remain trapped under the barn, which collapsed Saturday morning under the pressure of heavy snow. Some of the animals were said to be moving around under the collapsed structure.
Read the full story on Middlefield Patch:
Snow covered berries stand out against a background in a park in the Belarus capital Minsk, on December 10, 2012. Snow fell today across Minsk as the temperatures dropped to -5 C (23 F). VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images
Tourists climb the Great Wall after a snow in Luanping, in northern China's Hebei province, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
Icicles cling to oranges in a small grove just after sunrise Wednesday Jan. 4, 2012, in Seffner, Fla. Temperatures in central Florida dipped into the 20's overnight. Farmers spray water on their crops to help keep them around 32 degrees, protecting them from possible freeze damage. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Icicles hang from an avacado as a farmer uses water in an effort to keep the fruit from being damaged by freezing temperatures on December 15, 2010 in Homestead, Florida. South Florida is enduring a weather system that pushed the temperature into the 30s Fahrenheit. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Lenin's statue is covered with snow during heavy snowfall over Kiev, on December 11, 2012. SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Japanese macaque, commonly referred to as 'snow monkeys', take an open-air hot spring bath, or 'onsen' at the Jigokudani (Hell's Valley) Monkey Park in the town of Yamanouchi, Nagano prefecture on December 10, 2012. Some 160 of the monkeys inhabit the area and are a popular tourist draw. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images
A tulip is covered in wet snow during a spring snowstorm in Akron, N.Y., Monday, April 23, 2012. A spring nor'easter dumped up to six inches of snow east of Lake Ontario on Monday, and parts of western New York could see more than a foot of snow before the late-season storm moves on. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
A cyclist is framed by icicles hanging from Christmas lights on a tree in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
A bike covered by snow is seen in front of the Duomo gothic cathedral in downtown Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Icicles hang from trees next to the lighthouse and pier on Lake Erie, in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Dave Chidley)
A man walks on a snow covered road after snowfall in the northern hill town of Shimla on December 14, 2012. A weather official said that there were intensifying cold wave conditions in Himachal Pradesh and there were reports of moderate snowfall in higher reaches of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla and Chamba districts. STR/AFP/Getty Images
In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Cim Smyth from Big Lake, Alaska, comes into the Nikolai, Alaska, checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The 2012 race has its ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday, Mar. 3. A winter of heavy snow in Alaska is keeping trail breakers busy clearing the route of the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, but no one can remove other weather-related challenges like jumbled ice along the western coast and the heightened possibility of run-ins with grouchy moose. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)
A man runs on the Ondarreta beach covered by snow in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian, on February 2, 2012. A cold snap kept Europe in its icy grip, pushing the death toll to 160 as countries from Italy to Ukraine struggled to cope with temperatures that plunged to record lows in some places. ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/Getty Images
A man sheltered himself with a blue umbrella as he walks under snowfalls in a park on December 14, 2012 in Milan. TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images
Icicles hang from a bush as a farmer uses water in an effort to keep his crops from being damaged by freezing temperatures on December 15, 2010 in Homestead, Florida. South Florida is enduring a weather system that pushed the temperature into the 30s Fahrenheit. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
In this photo taken March 15, 2012 cars are buried by snow near a residential area of Nome, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Two women walk along a snow-covered street in Beijing early on December 14, 2012. Overnight snowfall continued with workers mobilised to clear roads and walkways as the weather threatened to top a record set last month for rainfall in the city over a 24-hour period between November and March. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
A man does pull-ups in a snow-covered park in Minsk on December 12, 2012. VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images
Icicles hang from a jetty that juts out into Lake Michigan just south of the Shoop Park Golf Course in Racine, Wis. on Friday, February 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Journal Times, Scott Anderson)
A moose grazes along the roadway leading into Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Anchorage residents woke Wednesday to a storm that dropped up to 9 inches on Alaska's largest city. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
A man walks through snow covered landscape in Munich, southern Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. Weather forecasts predict cold temperatures and snow for southern Germany during the upcoming days. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Snow clings to the branches of a tree on the High Line after a snowfall Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/CX Matiash)
Don Buckley takes his dog Gracie for a walk during a spring snowstorm in Akron, N.Y., Monday, April 23, 2012. A spring nor'easter dumped up to six inches of snow east of Lake Ontario on Monday, and parts of western New York could see more than a foot of snow before the late-season storm moves on. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
This general view from the Confucius Temple in Jingshan Park shows snowfall in Beijing early on December 14, 2012. Overnight snowfall continued with workers mobilised to clear roads and walkways as the weather threatened to top a record set last month for rainfall in the city over a 24-hour period between November and March. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
In this Nov. 25, 2005 file photo, Vidal grapes hang on the vine covered in snow waiting to be harvested and pressed for ice wine in Branchport, N.Y. Winery and vineyard operators from Michigan to New York and parts of Canada have waited nervously for temperatures to get low enough to harvest the tender fruit. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)
Icicles hang from a drinking water pipe
Icicles hang from a drinking water pipe at Shopian some 65kms south of Srinagar on January 5, 2012. A cold wave further tightened its grip in Jammu and Kashmir with most places in the state recording sub-zero temperatures. The sub-zero temperatures has frozen many water bodies in Kashmir and even drinking water taps have frozen at some places. TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images
Reagan Gagnon of Kenneunkport, Maine, skis on a snow-covered sidewalk at Gooch's Beach during a winter storm, Thursday, March 1, 2012, in Kennebunk, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Pike, a 30 year old Polar Bear plays in man made snow at the San Francisco Zoo on November 15, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Two San Francisco Zoo Polar Bears, Pike (30) and Ulu (32)celebrated their birthdays with 10 tons of man made snow and special treats. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Outdoor Halloween decorations get covered with snow as it falls Saturday Oct. 29, 2011 in New York. A classic nor'easter is moving along the East Coast and is expected to dump anywhere from a dusting of snow to about 10 inches throughout the region starting Saturday, a decidedly unseasonal date for a type of storm more associated with midwinter. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
Dark clouds move over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. The National Weather Service says that by late morning Thursday 1 inch of rain had fallen in several hours across the western side of the county. Much of Northern California is under a variety of warnings and advisories for rain, snow and high winds. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Snow blankets the ski lift chairs at the Soda Springs Ski Resort near Soda Springs, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011. An early October storm swept through Northern California bringing rain to the lower levels and up to six inches of snow to the Sierra Nevada. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
An aerial view taken on September 5, 2012 shows the Kerguelen archipelago which forms one of the five districts of the territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF). SOPHIE LAUTIER/AFP/Getty Images
A great gray owl perches on a branch in a neighborhood park on Friday, March 9, 2012, in south Anchorage, Alaska. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the owl's distinctive facial disk and its feathers help direct sounds toward its ear openings, and that it can hear mice and other rodents under two feet of snow. Bird watchers have reported repeated sightings of the normally reclusive great gray owl in Anchorage throughout the winter. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
People enjoy an uncommon view of the city from the Gianicolo hill overlooking Trastevere in Rome, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, the day after a rare snowstorm hit the city. Romans bewildered by a rare snowstorm borrowed children's beach pails and trowels or used government-issued shovels to dig their cars and sidewalks out from a few inches of slush and snow, which kept many buses off streets and tourists locked out of the Colosseum and other monuments. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
A picture taken on December 2, 2010 in A
A picture taken on December 2, 2010 in Ambleteuse, northern France shows the seaside snowed up after heavy snow. Snow and ice in France forced hundreds of drivers to abandon their cars, caused major disruption to flights at Paris airports and shut down half of Eurostar trains to London. PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images
Icicles hang in front of a window on December 7, 2012 in Hermsdorf, Germany. A low pressure system dumped snow on the south and east of the country before heading west. (Photo by Joern Haufe/Getty Images)
A man shovels snow near the giant icicles on a rock in central Tbilisi, on February 9, 2012. The temperatures in the Georgia's capital dropped today to -6 C. VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images
Icicles can be seen on the wing of a Delta Air Lines plane as it is sprayed with de-icing fluid prior to take-off at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in Seattle. On the heels of heavy snow that fell Wednesday, the Western Washington region was hit with an ice storm Thursday that closed runways at the airport and stranded hundreds of travelers as flights were delayed or canceled. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A man walks through a frozen fountain during a snowfall in Milan, Italy, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)