Hundreds of thousands of people were without power Wednesday as the winter blast that wreaked havoc across the United States’ midsection roared into the Northeast.
Heavy snow and periods of bone-chilling rain grounded flights, shuttered schools, snarled traffic, and cut off electricity in homes and businesses from the Missouri Valley to Maine, affecting some 77 million people.
The onslaught of ice dragged down power lines. More than 700,000 people were without power in eastern and central Pennsylvania, according to combined totals from three major utility companies.
In New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie ordered a state of emergency, three utility companies reported a combined total of more than 92,000 outages as public transportation services were hit by delays.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy called on residents to stay off roads. Parts of the state have reported 10 inches or more of snow.
“With heavy snow falling across the state and a mix of sleet and freezing rain on the way, I am asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel”, Malloy said. “If you can stay home or work from home, please do”.
More than 2,500 flights across the country were canceled, with airports and passengers in New York, Boston and Chicago bearing the brunt. Most of the flights not scrubbed were experiencing delays.
Commuters across the region creeped to work. Making matters worse, a “significant” power outage crippled service on at least three major subways lines in New York City during the early morning commute including at Times Square, the busiest station in the busiest subway system in the country. By the end of the morning rush, the issue had been fixed, city officials said.
Schools were open in New York City, despite the monstrous weather. In Brooklyn, parents trudged through the snow with their kids as crews used snow blowers to keep sidewalks around buildings clear.