More Than 4,300 Flights Canceled as Snowstorm Pounds Northeast - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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More Than 4,300 Flights Canceled as Snowstorm Pounds Northeast

"This is going to be a big punch," said Benjamin Sipprell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A major winter storm descended upon the Northeast region today, and more than 50 million Americans are under winter storm warnings. The snow has disrupted travel and caused school cancelations from the mid-Atlantic to New England, and officials have asked motorists to stay inside. (Published Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017)

    The biggest storm to hit the Northeast this winter dropped a foot or more of snow along the New York-to-Boston corridor Thursday, turning roads treacherous, grounding flights and giving millions of people weather whiplash a day after temperatures soared into the 50s and 60s. 

    Scores of accidents were reported as drivers confronted blowing snow and slick highways. Stretches of Interstate 95 in Rhode Island were closed in the afternoon after tractor-trailers got stuck.

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    Schools closed in cities big and small, including New York City, Philadelphia and Boston, and government offices told non-essential workers to stay home. 

    A number of school systems canceled Thursday classes including New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. Airlines scrapped thousands of flights by late Wednesday as a precaution, and FlightAware.com reported 4,337 flights were canceled Wednesday through Friday, including the more than 3,644 on Thursday, and already 206 on Friday.

    Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says flight activity is expected to pick up again at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty as the storm winds down.

    A de-icing truck caught fire at Bradley Airport outside Hartford, Connecticut.

    Fifty million people from Maine down through Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., are being affected by a winter storm that dumped as much as four inches of snow per hour, according to NBC News.

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    In New York City, a doorman died after falling down a set of stairs and crashing through a plate-glass window while shoveling snow. Police said Miguel Angel Gonzalez, 59, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, suffered cuts on his neck and face.

    Massachusetts activated its emergency management bunker in Framingham, where Gov. Charlie Baker was scheduled to provide updates on the storm at midday. Baker urged people to stay off the roads to allow plows and sanders to do their work.

    In Rhode Island, they got "thundersnow," with whiteout conditions accompanied by the rumble of thunder.

    "It's pretty nuts here," Felecia White said as she and friends hunkered down in a restaurant in Newport, Rhode Island, waiting for the weather to improve. "Even with four-wheel drive, you can't do anything. You can't see across the street."

    As of late afternoon, New York's Hudson Valley and parts of Long Island had up to a foot of snow, while New York City recorded about 9 inches.

    "The roads are in bad shape ... covered and icy," Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said.

    A blizzard warning was posted for a swath of the New England coast, with forecasters saying Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, could get up to a foot and a half by evening. Boston canceled school on Friday, too.

    West Hartford, Connecticut, had more than 14 inches by late afternoon, and Ludlow, Massachusetts, had 18 inches. Farther north, Nashua, New Hampshire, received over 13 inches and Berwick, Maine, recorded about a foot.

    In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, about 100 people turned out for a snowball fight. Organizer Andrew Bagley said that while there was snow aplenty, it wasn't ideal for snowball making.

    "It's just an unsanctioned, family-ish event for people staying home on a snow day," he said. "It's an excuse to come downtown and act like little kids again."

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    In New York City, a group of women in pajamas waited on the sidewalk in the freezing cold to attend a taping of ABC's "The Chew" show, where the day had been proclaimed "Pajama Day."

    "It's fun. And it's an experience. Yesterday was 65 degrees, and today, a snowstorm," said Elaine Higgins, a retired educator from Blackwood, New Jersey. "What's life without adventure?"

    The storm came midway through a largely snow-free winter in the Northeast and a day after much of the region enjoyed a brief taste of spring, with record-breaking highs in some places. Temperatures then crashed more than 30 degrees as the storm rolled in. 

    "We were waiting for a good one all year," said Morgan Crum, a manager at Katz Ace Hardware in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where more than 50 people stopped in to buy shovels, ice melt, gas cans and other storm provisions. "We live in New England. This is what we expect."

    The storm came midway through a largely snow-free winter in the Northeast and a day after much of the region enjoyed a brief taste of spring, with record-breaking highs in some places. Temperatures then crashed more than 30 degrees as the storm rolled in.

    "We were waiting for a good one all year," said Morgan Crum, a manager at Katz Ace Hardware in Glastonbury, Connecticut, where more than 50 people stopped in to buy shovels, ice melt, gas cans and other storm provisions. "We live in New England. This is what we expect."

    The snow tapered off in the morning in Philadelphia and was expected to stop in the afternoon in the New York City area, but New Englanders should brace for snowfall through the evening commute.

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