Fierce storm snarls travel, knocks out power along East Coast

Billy Carey and Justin Plaza at right from Boston Fire Rescue swift water team haul their boat after saving a man from his flooded car on Commercial Wharf during the storm on Thursday

Thousands of flights were cancelled, firefighters scrambled to rescue motorists from flooded streets in Boston, National Guard troops were mobilized in the Northeast and New York City's two main airports halted flights because of whiteout conditions. Blizzard warnings were in place along the coast from North Carolina to ME, with the National Weather Service forecasting winds as high as 55 miles per hour (89 kph) that may bring down tree limbs and knock out power.

Eastern Massachusetts and most of Rhode Island braced for as much as 7.5cm of snow per hour as high winds caused coastal flooding from Massachusetts to ME, overwhelming fishing piers, streets and restaurants.

The wintry weather has been blamed for at least 14 deaths in the past few days, including four in North Carolina traffic accidents and three in Texas because of the cold.

After heavy snows wrought travel chaos in the northeastern United States, the region was facing a weekend of even colder temperatures on Friday.

More than 5,000 flights were cancelled at airports in the major cities of NY and Boston, including a number from Ireland.

Passenger train operator Amtrak was running reduced service in the northeast, while mass-transit systems in major metropolitan areas, including NY and Boston, remained open.

"I have a big meeting today, so I had to go in". Federal government offices planned to delay opening for two hours on Thursday, while state officials in CT and MA ordered non-essential workers to stay home. Southern snow Private forecaster AccuWeather said snow would fall quickly during the day, at a rate of several inches per hour, with the storm intensified by the bombogenesis effect.

Motorists splash through storm surge flooding along Lynn Shore Drive during a snowstorm on Thursday
Fierce storm snarls travel, knocks out power along East Coast

The vicious winter storm hitting the East Coast also brought hurricane-force wind gusts to parts of MA.

Charleston, South Carolina, received 13.46cm of accumulation, within an inch of its record, while Tallahassee, Florida saw its first measurable snow since 1989. Sporadic delays were reported on transit systems, including NY state's Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuter lines, as well as the Boston area's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system.

The snowstorm brought a break in extremely cold weather that has gripped much of the region since Christmas, frozen part of Niagara Falls, played havoc with public works and impeded firefighting in places where temperatures barely broke -6.7C.

Utility companies across the East worked to fix downed power lines early on Friday as about 21,000 customers remained without electricity, down from nearly 80,000 the day before, and issued warnings that temperatures may become dangerously low.

Low temperatures in New York City will hover in the single digits this weekend, with the possibility of dipping down to zero on Saturday night.

. Heavy snow and high winds also hit NY. "The wind is going to be high all through the day".

Ahead of that threat, snowplows and salt trucks were dispatched along streets and highways and schools were closed through much of the region.

Weather experts and meteorologists have said that the winter storm could probably be a bomb cyclone due to the unusual atmospheric pressure drop that has led to conditions that are characteristic of a hurricane. As a result, the accumulation of snow and winds intensifies, which can cause property damage and power outages.

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