US north-east hit by snow and ice

February 06, 2014 - 7:35:43 am

Snow is seen on cars in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of the Brooklyn borough in New York yesterday.

NEW YORK: The latest in a series of winter storms hit the US north-east yesterday, threatening to drop up to a 30cm of snow in central New England, snarling travel and eating into supplies of salt needed to keep roads clear. 

Officials in New York and New Jersey warned they were beginning to run short of the rock salt used by road crews to keep ice from building up on highways and local roads, the result of the season’s repeated storms. Neighbouring New Jersey reported a similar shortage. 

As of January 26, New Jersey had spent $60m on snow removal, putting it in place to break the record of $62.5m spent last year. Connecticut was on pace to exceed its $30m budget. New York City has spread some 346,000 tonnes of rock salt on its roads so far this year. 

Heavy show was expected from the Great Lakes through New England, with freezing rain dominating south of New York. In the Boston area, snow was falling at a rate of 2-5cm per hour, making roads treacherous and causing school closings.

“The worst will be along the higher terrain, around central New England,” said Benjamin Sipprell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. By mid-morning, 24cm of snow had fallen in Burlington, in central Connecticut, 23cm in Southbridge, in southern Massachusetts, and 32cm in Newburgh, New York, north of New York City, according to the National Weather Service.

Connecticut’s governor urged people to stay off icy roads. “With heavy snow falling across the state and a mix of sleet and freezing rain on the way, I am asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel,” said Dannel Malloy. “If you can stay home or work from home, please do.”

Almost 900,000 homes and businesses were without power in the US Midwest and north-east early yesterday following severe snow and ice storms overnight, according to local power companies. The hardest hit state was Pennsylvania, with over 640,000 customers without power. Other hard-hit states include Maryland, West Virginia, Arkansas, New Jersey, Kentucky, Delaware, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana and New York.

The Guardian

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