Storm winds, flooding paralyze East Coast cities
A deadly nor’easter left millions without power on the East Coast and killed at least seven people.
DUXBURY, MASS. — A deadly nor’easter turned a thousand-mile stretch of the East Coast into a wind tunnel, leaving millions without power, paralyzing flooded cities and towns and claiming the lives of at least seven people — some of whom had tried in vain to take shelter from hurricane-force winds.
With the worst mostly over by Saturday morning, people from Maine to Georgia emerged from homes to take stock of the damage.
Some of those first glimpses came in the dark. At its peak, winds had knocked out power to more than 2 million people, including more than 400,000 in Massachusetts and 320,000 across the state of New York. Thousands of flights were grounded at some of the country’s busiest airports, causing a ripple effect of delays and cancellations around the world.
On the ground, highways across the Northeast were clogged with tractor trailers and buses, which were prohibited from crossing some of the region’s massive bridges due to the treacherous winds. In smaller cities and towns, particularly those near the vulnerable coast, roads had turned into rivers.
The people killed during the storm include a 6-yearold, who died in his bed when a tree came crashing into his family’s home in Chester, Virginia; a 72-yearold Newport, Rhode Island, man, killed by a falling tree; a 77-year-old woman in Baltimore County, Maryland, who was crushed by a tree branch while checking the mail; and three men — one in James City County, Virginia, another in Connecticut and a third in Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania — who were killed when trees fell on their cars.
Because of the dangerous conditions, more than 3,000 domestic and international flights were canceled in the United States on Friday, according to FlightAware.com, most with destinations or departures in the Northeast Corridor. About a third of those flights were at LaGuardia Airport, the East Coast’s primary transportation hub. More than 400 were canceled at Boston Logan International Airport; another 300 were canceled at airports in the Washington region.
Flights were suspended at LaGuardia on Friday afternoon, according to The New York Times. The Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary ground stops at Dulles for about an hour Friday afternoon because of the high winds, and, at one point, the Dulles air traffic control tower was evacuated.
One flight encountered such heavy turbulence that “pretty much everyone on the plane threw up. Pilots were on the verge of throwing up,” the pilot said in an urgent report from a regional jetliner from Charlottesville, Virginia. Amtrak also briefly suspended train service because of outages in New York City.
In other pockets, the storm dropped large amounts of precipitation, including heavy snowfall, or its winds pushed in seawater during high tides, inundating bayside neighborhoods.
Portions of New York state received more than 3 feet of snow. Syracuse University canceled a full day of classes because of snow for only the third time in its history.
First responders in Quincy, Massachusetts, spent Friday night rescuing nearly 100 people who were suddenly trapped by rising floodwaters.
On Friday afternoon, the tide at Boston Harbor peaked at 14.67 feet, the third-highest level since authorities began keeping records in 1928. Stranded people feared there would be a similar historic high tide around midnight, causing a flooding risk in the dark as people were sleeping. But midnight’s tide was 13.87 feet, nearly a foot lower, according to the Boston Globe.
Waves crash over houses on in Scituate, Massachusetts, during a powerful nor’easter that pummeled cities with snow, rain, high wind and record high tides. At least seven deaths were reported.