Hundreds of flights were canceled Tuesday as a winter storm wreaked havoc on travel and dumped more than two foot of snow in portions of the Northeast.
Meanwhile in the West, soggy California faced more flooding from the latest deluge, and nearly 27,000 people were under evacuation orders due to flood and landslide risks.
“Double-Whammy! Storm-weary Californians are facing another strong Atmospheric River Event and the Northeast is bracing for a powerful Nor’easter,” the National Weather Service tweeted.
Some areas of Vermont and Massachusetts already had over 2 feet of snow as of midday Tuesday. A recurring theme in weather service storm warnings across much of New York and New England: “Significant snowfall and periods of heavy snowfall rates will combine to create low visibility and very dangerous driving conditions.”
The storm targeted parts of New England, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and hundreds of school districts were shuttered for the day.
Strong winds and the weight of snow on tree limbs could topple power lines and cause power outages, forecasters said. More than 250,000 homes and businesses across New York and New England were in the dark as of Tuesday afternoon.
►More than 25 million Americans were under winter storm warnings, watches or advisories. More than 40 million faced wind advisories or watches.
►When LaGuardia’s ground stop was called off, delays averaged more than 2 hours. Connecticut’s Bradley International Airport also briefly closed because of storm conditions.
►Snow was falling at up to 3 inches an hour in some areas. “We are advising those who live in these areas not to travel at this time,” the New York State Police tweeted.
►The highest snow total from the storm as of mid-afternoon was 32 inches in Rowe, Massachusetts, the weather service said.
►The Southeast will also see some winter weather conditions: Freeze warnings have been issued to tens of millions of people across the region.
A Delta Airbus A220-100 with 61 passengers aboard “exited” a taxiway at Syracuse Hancock International Airport at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, airport officials said in a statement. The weather service was reporting light snow, fog and mist at the time. About 45 minutes later, a “coordinated response” began to bring the passengers and their luggage back to the terminal, the statement said. The crew remained with the plane, working to return it to the taxiway.
The incident did not affect operations and the airport remained open, the statement said, although several flights were delayed or canceled because of the weather. Delta issued a statement saying no injuries were reported.
“During a departure taxi-out this morning, the nose gear of a Delta aircraft exited the paved surface of a taxiway,” Delta said in a statement. “This was not an airplane skidding off a runway.”
Almost 1,000 flights were delayed or canceled at LaGuardia, Boston Logan and New Jersey’s Newark airports.
A winter storm warning remained in effect through Wednesday in much of the Northeast from the nor’easter. Up to 2 feet of heavy, wet snow was expected in most regions. AccuWeather said the heaviest snowfall most likely would hit from New York to Maine.
Areas in the storm’s path could have wind gusts up to 50 mph. Coastal cities in the Northeast, from New Jersey to Maine, will be monitoring possible flooding with rising tides. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency Monday night, advising people to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel because of hazardous road conditions.
“This could be deadly,” Hochul warned at a storm briefing in Albany. “Let me repeat: This will be a dangerous storm. Please stay off the roads for your own safety.”
Dustin Reidy, a county legislator who lives in Albany, said he stocked up on groceries and prepared an emergency bin of candles, flashlights and extra batteries ahead of the storm.
“I don’t think the storm is as bad in my neck of the woods, but I give a lot of credit to the snowplows,” said Reidy, who was working from home. He said snowplow crews had been at work since the early morning.
In New Hampshire, the state police said they had dealt with more than 120 crashes by noon Tuesday due to the storm.
Nor’easters are large, intense areas of low pressure that typically develop off the East Coast during the late fall, winter and early spring.
The storms are called “nor’easters” because they usually bring strong northeast winds over the East as they move north along the Atlantic Coast.
A NOR’EASTER EXPLAINED: Storms can batter East Coast with snow, impact millions of people
Heavy rain fell again in California throughout the day on Tuesday. Northern California will see moderate to heavy rain; the Sierra and Foothills could get 3 to 7 inches, the National Weather Service said. The area could see flooded roadways and an increased risk of mudslides. Flood warnings were issued for local rivers.
“As the #AtmosphericRiver continues to arrive, rainfall rates and winds will continue to increase through the morning for the Bay Area and Central Coast of California,” the weather service office in San Francisco warned in a tweet.
Strong winds were bringing trees and power lines down across the region, the weather service said. Winds were howling across the state: A gust of 80 mph was reported in northern California, the weather service said.
In Southern California, heavy rain through Tuesday evening was expected to be worse than the atmospheric river storm that hit last week. The impact could be devastating – 2 to 4 inches of rain was expected across the coastal and valley areas. Four to 8 inches was possible in the foothills and mountains.
“With the ground already saturated from the previous storm and river levels well above average, another round of major and life-threatening flooding is likely along much of the California coast, central valley and foothills of the Sierra,” the weather service said.
Karla Loreto, who works at a gas station in waterlogged Pajaro, California, in Monterey County, said she worries about the toll flooding will take on farmworkers.
“The fields are flooded right now,” she said Monday. “Probably no jobs there right now. For this year, probably no strawberries, no blackberries, no blueberries.”
‘RIVERS IN THE SKY’:What exactly is an atmospheric river?
The National Weather Service said the rain will add what has already been a wet beginning of the year for California. Some parts of the state have had their wettest water year since at least 2016-17 but “more likely” 2004-05 or 2010-11.
The South and Southeast had freeze warnings in effect through Tuesday morning, and they could be back in place Wednesday morning. The cold will kill crops and other vegetation and could damage outdoor plumbing.
“Those in spots where subfreezing temperatures are forecast will want to bring pets, as well as any sensitive outdoor plants, indoors to avoid the cold air,” AccuWeather said.
The freeze warning applies to parts of:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Contributing: Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.