Another in ‘biblical’ series of snowstorms hits US Northeast

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Rita Valente looks out her window at the falling snow in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. AP

BOSTON, United States — Another weekend, another major snow
storm: The latest system to sweep the US Northeast brought another foot
(30 centimeters) to Boston — on top of 6 feet (1.8 meters) that has
fallen over the last month — and tested residents who say the winter is
beginning to feel like one without end.

Even after the storm, forecasters warned of exceptionally cold air,
perhaps the coldest yet of the season. Strong winds expected to continue
into Monday reduced visibility, created drifts and complicated an
ongoing cleanup effort. Forecasters were talking about another storm on
the horizon for midweek.

“It’s historic. It’s biblical,” attorney Frank Libby said as he
walked down a deserted street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. “I
think we’re in uncharted territory. People just don’t know how to deal
with the logistics of it.”

He had one message for Mother Nature: “Give us a break.”

Deep freeze

A bone-chilling blast of cold, with lows of minus-10 degrees
Fahrenheit (minus-23 degrees Celsius) was in the Sunday night forecast
in parts of the region. The temperatures are expected to be the coldest
of the season, according to the National Weather Service.

“We’re dropping below zero and wind chills will be dropping to 20
below (minus-29 C) and maybe minus-25 (minus-31 C) by morning,” said
National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson. “People should take
it seriously. It is the coldest in Massachusetts in many years.”

The Arctic cold front already had settled over Michigan by midday
Sunday, sending temperatures plunging to minus-27 F (minus-33 C) in the
Upper Peninsula and minus-22 F (minus-30 C)in the northern Lower
Peninsula.

Snow totals

Some areas of New England reported nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of
snow from the storm including Acushnet, Massachusetts with 22 inches (55
centimeters). Boston recorded 13 inches (32.5 centimeters) of new snow.
At the easternmost tip of Maine, Lubechad had 2 full feet (60
centimeters).

With many intersections already clogged by soaring snow banks, forces
mobilized before the storm to remove piles of snow. Massachusetts
called up the National Guard troops to help and Hanscom Air Force base
outside Boston became a staging area for heavy equipment pouring in from
eight other Northeastern states.

Lightning and whiteout conditions

Although the storm did not bring the eye-popping snow totals of
others this season, it made its presence felt with lightning strikes and
strong winds that left visibility close to zero for stretches along the
coast.

“Oh my goodness, it’s a whiteout!” said Sue Baker of Lubec, Maine,
observing the wind blowing outside her bed and breakfast, the Peacock
House.

The Coast Guard said it rescued an Australian father-son sailing team
whose boat lost power and had its sails torn in 60 mph (96.5 kph) winds
about 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

In Vermont, the wind was enough to force shut-down of the Lake Champlain ferry cross between Charlotte and Essex, New York.

Southern snow too?

New Englanders won’t be the only ones with the winter blues,
forecasters say. A snow storm could bring 6 to 9 inches (15 to 22.5
centimeters) of snow to parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.
Freezing rain was forecast for northern Mississippi and 2 to 4 inches (5
to 10 centimeters) of snow and sleet will be possible in north Georgia.

The storm also threatened Atlanta, where just over a year ago an ice storm trapped commuters for hours on the region’s freeways.

| Inquirer News

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