A blustery nor’easter that dumped more than 2 feet of gloppy snow across pockets of the Northeast has left more than 1 million utility customers from Maryland to Maine without power Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, commuters were facing delays, hundreds of flights were still grounded, and communities were enduring yet another tedious and dangerous cleanup as the snow brought down trees and power lines.
It was déjà vu for the same region across the I-95 corridor that was hit last Friday by a deadly nor’easter — one that cut the lights to more than 2 million from Virginia to Maine.
The nor’easter on Wednesday brought a wide range of snowfall across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, from just a few inches in parts of Delaware and Maryland to over 2 feet in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
New York City’s Central Park was hit with less than 3 inches of snow, but the rain mix fell like confetti, blanketing streets and sidewalks with a thick sludge.
Witnesses also reported lightning and peals of thunder across the region during the snowstorm — a rare phenomenon called “thundersnow.” At its peak, the nor’easter was projected to have snowfall rates of up to 3 inches an hour.
Philadelphia International Airport recorded about 6 inches of snow.
The women’s basketball team at Northeastern University got an unplanned workout Wednesday when its bus got stuck in the snow in Philadelphia, where the Colonial Athletic Association championship tournament is taking place.
A school spokesperson told NBC Boston that the bus stalled a few blocks from the team’s hotel after practice — so the players got out and pushed it back on course.
“They raced off the bus to help push, got it moving a couple of feet and around the bend, off the hill,” the spokesperson said.
Reinforced by a cold front moving offshore to the Atlantic, the storm was expected to intensify into Thursday morning as it moved north through New England.
The town of Sloatsburg, New York, in Rockland County, already recorded 26 inches of snow in the 24 hours through 8:30 p.m. ET, according to the National Weather Service.
A cascade of cancellations and delays was already being felt as the brunt of the storm rolled through the Northeast.
Almost 2,600 departures and arrivals were scrapped at airports in Boston, Philadelphia, New York and Newark, New Jersey. Amtrak suspended service between New York City and Boston until 10 a.m. Thursday. New Jersey State Police responded to more than 50 multiple-vehicle crashes by noon because of the icy conditions.
A New Jersey teacher was listed as stable after being struck by lightning outside Manchester Township Middle School during the height of the thundersnow, according to police.
Ten people were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator that had been powered up inside a home in White Plains, New York, police told NBC New York.
But a bigger worry was that some of the regions — still repairing downed power lines and damage from coastal flooding from last Friday’s storm — were particularly susceptible. The coastal town of Duxbury, Massachusetts, was still recovering from devastating flooding after part of its seawall was demolished by the previous nor’easter.
“The work we’ve been doing out on the seawall has been holding up, which we’re pleased with,” Town Manager Rene Read told NBC News. “We’ve heard that there could be 40- to 50 mile-an-hour gusts of wind. We do have high tides, and that’s a big sea out there. … We’re tired [from the last five days], but morale is good.”
Beach Avenue in Kennebunk, Maine, has been closed since last Friday, and it likely won’t reopen until this Friday.
Eric Labelle, the town’s public services director, told New England Cable News that authorities would have to wait for the storm to pass before they could examine the sea walls, roads and culverts.
“There may be some compromised areas,” he said.
As she surveyed new damage along Beach Avenue, Tami York, a Kennebunk resident, told NECN: “It’s just going to add insult to injury.”
Even though Wednesday’s storm wasn’t predicted to bring as much flooding or strong gusts, there were worries about more sagging to power lines already weakened from the winds on Friday.
“A lot of the same places that were hit hard on Friday will have impacts from this system,” said NBC News meteorologist Sherri Pugh.
Utility companies in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania reported some of the highest power outages as of Thursday morning.
In Mamaroneck, New York, in Westchester County, frustrations were building as parts of the area waited for power to be restored from the first wallop — while bracing for the next one.
The estimated restoration time from Con Edison “seems to be a moving target,” Mayor Tom Murphy told LoHud.com, “which is kind of disconcerting because it doesn’t inspire confidence that they have a plan.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also criticized the utility companies, vowing to review their response to the problem.
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