A massive winter storm buried much of the U.S. East Coast in a foot or more of snow by Saturday, shutting down transit in major cities, stranding drivers on snowbound highways, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people. A look at some of the impacts by state:
Firefighters helped about a dozen people evacuate Oak Orchard, a low-lying community in southern Delaware that often floods during storms. Part of Route 1, a costal artery, was closed because of sand and water. Officials reported numerous dune breaches along the coast and significant flooding of low-lying communities around inland bays. More than 5,000 homes and businesses lost electricity. A power failure shuttered the Delaware City Refinery and released pollutants, but environmental officials said no harmful levels of pollutants were detected at the facility’s fence line or downwind from it.
Utilities had restored power to more than 66,000 customers since the storm began there early Friday, though a few thousand more were still without service, a Georgia Power spokesman said.
Motorists got stuck overnight Friday on Interstate 75 south of Lexington as wrecks and blowing snow brought traffic to a halt. Officials went from vehicle to vehicle, checking on marooned drivers; distributing water, fuel and snacks; and helping people get to shelters set up at churches and public schools along the highway. But some drivers said they were too far away to make it to the shelters. The road reopened early Saturday. Elsewhere, a transportation worker died while plowing snow-covered highways near Bowling Green, and a man died when his car collided with a salt truck.
Snow pros in the Bangor Police Department offered advice to points south, instructing the snowbound to keep generators gassed up but outside. Running a generator inside can result in deadly carbon monoxide filling the house. Their Facebook post said, “The men and women of the Bangor Police Department are rooting for you.”
A 60-year-old man shoveling snow in the Fort Washington area died after an apparent heart attack, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department spokesman Mark Brady said. In Montgomery County, north of Washington, roofs collapsed on a condominium complex’s utility building and on a large barn. A dozen horses were temporarily trapped. Baltimore banned nonemergency vehicles from its streets overnight to speed snow clearing.
Several seaside resort towns were temporarily isolated by flood waters when the tide rushed in Saturday, and firefighters were hampered by floodwaters and the weather as they battled a blaze at a restaurant. More than 50,000 homes and businesses lost power. Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he saw some plows that had come to a stop because they were blocked by cars that got stuck in the snow on highways.
Three people died while shoveling snow in New York City, police said. Broadway shows were canceled, and drivers were ordered to stay off New York City and Long Island roads. Above-ground subway lines, city buses and many commuter trains were suspended, and some workers scrambled to get home as the forecast worsened. Hudson River crossings including the George Washington Bridge and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels were closed to regular traffic. Police said they had responded to more than 200 car accidents and 300 disabled vehicles.
Six people, including a 4-year-old boy, were killed in wrecks amid the storm, authorities said. And a man was arrested on charges of killing a motorist who stopped to help after his car slid off an ice-covered road outside Charlotte. About 150,000 homes and businesses lost power.
A teenager sledding behind an all-terrain vehicle was hit by a truck and killed Friday, the State Highway Patrol said. The truck failed to yield at a traffic light and hit the sled, which the ATV was pulling in Wheelersburg, the highway patrol said.
Many travelers, including teams of college athletes and a church group, got stuck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Temple University women’s gymnastics team and the Duquesne University’s men’s basketball team were stuck in their buses for hours, as was a church group of 96 mostly teenage parishioners heading home to Indiana from the March for Life in Washington. The National Guard and front end loaders started digging the vehicles out on Saturday afternoon.
Two people were killed as cars slid off icy roads. One vehicle plummeted down a 300-foot embankment Wednesday night, killing the driver, whose husband survived and climbed up over several hours to report the wreck. Nashville saw its heaviest snowfall in nearly 20 years as the storm caused gridlock on streets and highways in Middle Tennessee. Eight inches of snow fell at Nashville International Airport, the most since Nashville logged 8.7 inches of snow on March 19, 1996.
A driver was killed in Chesapeake on Friday when his car veered off a snowy highway and hit a tree, and two people died of hypothermia in southwest Virginia, police said. Statewide, police grappled with more than 1,000 car crashes and more than 1,000 disabled vehicles as snow piled up Friday and Saturday. Snow, ice and gusting winds made the roof collapse at a Donk’s Theater, a historic venue near the Chesapeake Bay, building officials said. The theater opened in 1947 and was known as Home of Virginia’s Lil’ Ole Opry.
Mass transit was shut down in the nation’s capital, where the federal government had closed its offices at noon Friday. Monuments normally busy with tourists were largely deserted as snow made the steps of the Lincoln Memorial look almost like a short ski slope. President Barack Obama, hunkered down at the White House, was one of many who stayed home. But a video of one of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s four pandas enjoying the snow there Saturday was a bright spot amid the storm clouds, drawing 1.7 million views on Facebook.
As many as 200 vehicles, most of them tractor-trailers, were stranded overnight Friday on Interstate 77 north of Charleston. The logjam was cleared by noon Saturday, with a fleet of wreckers pulling out stuck vehicles. Roman Catholics were relieved of their obligation to attend Mass because of the snowstorm, as Bishop Michael J. Bransfield encouraged prayers for those in the path of the storm.
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