Another big snowstorm hits the urban Northeast
A man gets out of his car to clear the windows as traffic is at a standstill on John F Kennedy Boulevard during a winter snowstorm Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Philadelphia. A storm is sweeping across the Mid-Atlantic and New England. The National Weather Service said the storm could bring 8 to 12 inches of snow to Philadelphia and New York City, and more than a foot in Boston. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
PHILADELPHIA — A swirling storm with the potential for more than a foot of snow clobbered the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday, grounding thousands of flights, closing government offices in the nation’s capital and giving students another day off from school.
The storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts but was expected to hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, creating a perilous commute home for millions of motorists.
It was blamed for at least one death in Maryland after a car fishtailed into the path of a tractor-trailer on a snow-covered road about 50 miles northwest of Baltimore. The car’s driver was thrown from the vehicle.
Forecasters said the storm could bring 10 to 14 inches of snow to Philadelphia and southern New England and up to a foot in New York City, to be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in. Washington was expecting 4 to 8 inches snow.
This one was a conventional storm that developed off the coast and moved its way up the Eastern Seaboard, pulling in cold air from the arctic. Unlike the epic freeze of two weeks ago, it was not caused by a kink in the polar vortex, the winds that circulate around the North Pole.
Pennsylvania’s Transportation Department said it had already blown through more than half of its $189 million winter weather budget.
“Lots of nuisance storms this season have meant that PennDOT crews have been plowing and treating roads more frequently this winter,” spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt said.
Nearly 3,000 flights Tuesday were canceled, with airports from Washington to Boston affected. An additional 885 flights for today were called off as well. Amtrak planned to cut back train service in the afternoon.
The storm put a damper on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s inauguration, forcing the cancellation of an evening party on Ellis Island. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick postponed his annual State of the State address.
Schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky stayed closed for an extra day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, or sent students home early. Some parents kept their kids home all day, unwilling to put them on slippery roads for a few hours of school.