Blizzard Bears Down On New England, Snarling Travel

Blizzard Bears Down On New England, Snarling Travel

BOSTON (Reuters) – The third winter storm in two weeks roared into coastal New England on Tuesday, with up to 20 inches (51 cm) of forecast snow causing school closures, flight cancellations and raising the risk of power outages.

The nor’easter follows two storms that rumbled up the East Coast this month, killing at least nine people and knocking out power to about 2.4 million people and businesses at their peak.

The storm stretched from New York state across Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, with national forecasters warning of blizzard conditions, where high winds make travel dangerous, stretching from coastal Massachusetts through Maine.

“We’re anticipating that we’ll be seeing through the mid- to late morning and probably into midafternoon snowfall rates of one to three inches per hour (up to 7.6cm),” said Bob Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts. He warned that further power outages were likely in southeastern Massachusetts.

Schools in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, were shut on Tuesday, Maine’s state legislature canceled its session, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy closed all government offices and the passenger rail line Amtrak halted service between Boston and New York.

Close to 1,500 U.S. flights were canceled with the hardest-hit airport Boston Logan, where about four out of five flights were called off, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Nor’easters are storms that typically bring strong winds from the northeast, and they tend to occur most often and most violently between September and April along North America’s East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

Some nor’easters carry hurricane-force winds.

Winds are expected to reach 65 miles (105km) per hour, the weather service said.

This storm’s heavy snow could down trees weakened by the last two storms and bring a fresh wave of power outages, officials warned.

Lower tides meant the storm would probably not bring a repeat of the flooding that sent icy water pouring into the streets of Boston during a storm early this month, forecasters and officials said.