Late Season Snowstorm Clobbers Northeast

Mar 14, 2017
Originally published on March 15, 2017 8:18 am
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A late-season storm is continuing to roll across the Northeast all the way up through Maine, leaving some areas under 2 feet of snow. NPR's Tovia Smith says it's left hundreds of thousands without power, and it's crippling travel.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: It's not just how much snow is falling, but how fast. At 4 inches per hour, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says crews can't keep up in the hardest-hit areas upstate or in the streets of New York City.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ANDREW CUOMO: The roads are very, very nasty, and the roads are very dangerous. Many of them are filled with sleet and slush. And it's very important for us to get the roads clean before that slush freezes.

SMITH: With the nor'easter bearing down right about when we should be watching for daffodils coming up, some residents had let their guard down.

MATT MAYFIELD: Really slippery, like, lots of ice. Really loud wind. Oh, my God, it hurts. (Laughter) It hurts.

SMITH: That's Matt Mayfield, who was out in Manhattan shoveling roofs, while Shawn Ford was shoveling sidewalks yet again.

SHAWN FORD: It's getting heavy now. But hey, we've got to keep kicking. We New Yorkers (laughter).

SMITH: Boston, meantime, got something of a reprieve from predictions. But the 8 to 12 inches was still enough to shut down Logan Airport.

MUSTAFA KAMALI: It's a ghost town, yes. There's nothing going on here.

SMITH: Mustafa Kamali, a manager at the Wendy's in terminal A, was lonely at Logan.

KAMALI: And nobody else was here. I think I'm the only one with security (laughter).

SMITH: That's a far cry from the old days when storms would leave hundreds of stranded passengers splayed across the floors for hours or days. More than 6,000 flights were canceled because of this storm, but many a day or two before the first flakes fell. Daniel Baker, CEO of flightaware.com, says better forecasting and airlines' ability to text passengers allows them to minimize disruptions.

DANIEL BAKER: It's really, really highly choreographed dance. But at the end of the day, the hope is that this will be largely a one-day event, making the best of a tough situation.

SMITH: But even more snow is predicted for the weekend on the eve of next Monday's official start of spring. Tovia Smith, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF STEVE PETRUNAK SONG, "GREAT BIG STORM") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.