(Updates outages and snowfall from first paragraph, quotes from meteorologist from second, London flights in fourth.)
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- More than two feet of snow fell on parts of the U.S. Northeast as high winds left hundreds of thousands of people in the region without power, closed highways and forced the cancellation of 4,700 flights.
As much as 34 inches (86 centimeters) of snow fell just outside New Haven, Connecticut, according to the National Weather Service website. The worst-affected areas were the central and eastern portions of Long Island and Connecticut, where 2 to 3 feet have fallen, Joey Picca, a meteorologist with the weather service, said by phone at 6 a.m. local time today. That’s more than twice the snowfall New York City received.
“The worst of it is definitely over for New York City,” Picca said. “The storm will slowly continue to lift to the northeast. Snow will be ending from west to east. Then it will be cold. High temperatures only getting into the upper 20’s and lower 30’s, and winds staying pretty strong.”
About 398,000 homes and businesses were without power at 7 a.m. local time this morning in eastern Massachusetts, according to the websites of National Grid Plc and Northeast Utilities, who deliver electricity to the area.
A spokeswoman for London’s Heathrow Airport said today that three outgoing and 32 incoming U.S. flights had been canceled, with New York and Boston routes most affected. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. canceled its London-to-Boston service for a second day, while New York flights are back to normal after being canceled yesterday, a company spokeswoman said.
New York City received between 8 inches and 15 inches, with just over a foot of snow falling in the Bronx and 11 inches in Queens, Picca said. There were 25 inches in Worcester county in Massachusetts, and 1 foot to 2 feet elsewhere across the state. About 10 inches fell in Boston, according to the National Weather Service.
New York “could see some very light snow over the next couple of hours, but the main accumulations have ended there,” Picca said from the U.S. financial capital.
The storm arrived days after the 35th anniversary of the “Blizzard of ’78,” which buried Boston in a then-record 27.1 inches of snow and left thousands of motorists stranded on Massachusetts roads. Hurricane-force winds built drifts to as high as 27 feet. The bodies of some of the 99 people who died in the Bay State and Rhode Island weren’t found for days. Two February blizzards, in 2003 and 2011, surpassed that epic storm’s snowfall, both by less than an inch.
Road travel was restricted in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, while train and bus services were suspended.
“Conditions are not good for travel in any shape or form,” Kerry Schwindenhammer, senior meteorologist at Accuweather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said by telephone yesterday. “We’d recommend people not even try.”
Rail service between Boston and New York stopped after 1:40 p.m. yesterday, and passenger trains around New England were suspended, Amtrak said. In New Jersey, NJ Transit halted some trains and bus service after 8 p.m. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which runs Boston’s commuter trains, buses and subways, shut the services down at 3:30 p.m.
Airline travel between Boston and New York was suspended. About 4,700 flights have been canceled through tomorrow, said FlightAware.com, a tracking firm in Houston.
Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey was the most affected in the Tri-State region, with 695 cancellations as of 4:30 p.m. yesterday. John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia each had more than 500, FlightAware.com said. United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. led cancellations with about 1,000 each, while JetBlue Airways Corp. had 640 and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines scrapped 450, according to figures provided by the carriers.
All flights have been suspended at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Stewart International Airports, Anthony Hayes, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said by telephone from New York yesterday. The airports remain open, he said.
Winds were forecast to gust as high as 60 miles (97 kilometers) an hour or more across a large part of the Northeast at the height of the storm, the weather service said.
At least six states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have declared emergencies.
Blizzard warnings stretch from the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into the U.S. from Maine to Newark, according to weather agencies in both countries. Winter- storm warnings reach north into Quebec, west to Michigan and south to Virginia.
“I want to be clear -- 2 or 3 feet of snow in this period of time is a profoundly different type of storm than we’ve had to deal with,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, 56, said yesterday at an emergency command center in Framingham, a Boston suburb. He cited “extremely dangerous conditions” and said “the recovery will be very slow.”
The storm may rank as one of the most severe to hit Boston and arrived as parts of New York and New Jersey are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, which struck in October.
“It does feel like we are having a lot of extreme events in the last five years,” said James Aman, a senior meteorologist with Earth Networks in Germantown, Maryland. He said it is hard to say what the cause may be.
In Marshfield, Massachusetts, a seaside town south of Boston, emergency responders asked residents to evacuate coastal areas prone to flooding yesterday.
“This is a dangerous and life-threatening storm, and the public should heed the advance of the local public-safety officials,” Gary Somero, a firefighter at the emergency operations center in Marshfield, said by telephone yesterday.
Storm-related power failures affected about 650,000 homes and businesses from Maryland to Maine, according to the Associated Press. Some 10,412 Long Island Power Authority customers were blacked out as of 6:18 a.m., according to the utility’s website.
Connecticut’s power utilities predict the snowstorm will knock out service to 10 percent of customers, according to state Governor Dan Malloy, a 57-year-old Democrat.
Deepening snow threatened to shut down some surface subway lines in New York City, as Tom Prendergast, the interim executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said those lines might be suspended if 13 inches accumulated. The city suspended alternate-side parking rules through Sunday, and the Staten Island Ferry is running on a modified schedule in anticipation of high winds.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the Metro-North Railroad halted service to New York City’s northern suburbs and into Connecticut at 10 p.m. to facilitate clearing rails of snow and ice.
Cuomo, a Democrat, described the blizzard as “nothing more than a severe winter storm.”
“We’ve been through worse than what we’re talking about, so it’s all relative at the end of the day,” he said.
--With assistance from Mark Chediak and Lynn Doan in San Francisco, Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta , Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas, Freeman Klopott in Albany , Rupert Rowling and Thomas Biesheuvel in London and Karen Goldfarb in New York. Editors: Keith Campbell, Dick Schumacher.