Storm winds, flood­ing par­a­lyze East Coast cities

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - By Karen Wein­traub, Cleve R. Woot­son Jr. and Amy B Wang

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, 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.

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