First snow, now bitter cold disrupts life on East Coast

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First snow, now bitter cold disrupts life on East Coast
First snow, now bitter cold disrupts life on East Coast

BOSTON (AP) – Frigid temperatures, some that could feel as cold as minus 30 degrees, moved across the East Coast on Friday as the region attempted to clean up from a massive winter storm that brought more than a foot of snow, hurricane-force winds and coastal flooding a day earlier.

Forecasters predict strong winds and record-breaking cold air will sweep the region, from the mid-Atlantic to New England, and hang around through the weekend.

“This is chilly, chilly stuff,” Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, said.

The arctic blast could make temperatures feel as low as minus 15 degrees to minus 25 from Philadelphia to Boston and make residents of states like Maryland and Virginia shiver from temperatures ranging from 10 degrees to 15 degrees.

The wind chill could make it feel like minus 35 degrees in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, the National Weather Service said.

The storm began days ago in the Gulf of Mexico and first struck the Florida Panhandle. By Thursday, it was wreaking havoc as blizzard warnings and states of emergency went into effect along the Eastern Seaboard. Wind gusts hit more than 70 mph (113 kph) in places and some areas saw as much as 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow.

The storm caused school and business closings, airline and rail service cancellations or reductions and thousands of utilities outages, many of them restored quickly. Some ferry services even had to be shut down along the Canadian coast.

In New Jersey, gusty winds carried flames from a vacant building across the street to two other buildings. The flames also spread to two structures adjacent to the vacant building, damaging a total of five Friday morning in Newark. Two firefighters received minor injuries.

In the South, the winter weather forced portable toilets to be put in place outside Mississippi’s Capitol after pipes burst and it caused iguanas to become sluggish and topple from trees in South Florida. Residents of southeast Georgia were treated to a rare half foot of snow (15 centimeters).

In New England, powerful winds brought coastal flooding that reached historic levels in some communities with icy water overflowing piers, streets and restaurants and stranding some people who had to be rescued.

The only place where blizzard conditions were reported during Thursday’s storm, however, was Block Island, Rhode Island.

At least seven people died in weather-related accidents.

Four people were killed in North Carolina and South Carolina after their vehicles ran off snow-covered roads, authorities said. Another fatality was reported near Philadelphia when a car could not stop at the bottom of a steep, snow-covered hill and slammed into a commuter train. A passenger in the vehicle was killed. No one on the train was hurt.

In Virginia, a girl was struck by a pickup truck while sledding, and a 75-year-old man was hit by a snow plow while clearing business parking lots, authorities said. Both died at hospitals from their injuries, police said.

In northern New England, temperatures will be below zero this weekend. The high in Burlington, Vermont, on Saturday may only be minus 5 degrees, the meteorologist said.

The South won’t be spared, either. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia can expect temperatures around 15 degrees to 20 degrees, Hurley said. Northern Florida will be in the 20s to low 30s.

Sunday morning should bring the coldest temperatures from Portland, Maine, to Washington, D.C. “That’s when you’ll see records being challenged or broken, with temperatures at or near zero in many places,” Hurley said.

More seasonable weather is expected to return early next week with temperatures in the high 30s and near 40s, he said. For some, it will feel downright balmy.

A Newark firefighter looks on as a hose waters down a building after an early morning fire, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Newark, N.J. The fire broke out in a vacant structure in Newark early Friday morning in the area of 9th Avenue and South 14th Street and spread to two adjacent structures. Gusty winds carried the flames to two buildings across the street. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Flames are seen on the side of a building near a sheet of ice formed on items as firefighters respond to an early morning fire, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Newark, N.J. The fire broke out in a vacant structure in Newark early Friday morning in the area of 9th Avenue and South 14th Street and spread to two adjacent structures. Gusty winds carried the flames to two buildings across the street. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Icicles and a sheet of ice cover a burned out vehicle parked adjacent to a building that caught fire, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Newark, N.J. The fire broke out in a vacant structure in Newark early Friday morning in the area of 9th Avenue and South 14th Street and spread to two adjacent structures. Gusty winds carried the flames to two buildings across the street. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A Newark firefighter walks near the site of a fire, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Newark, N.J. The fire broke out in a vacant structure in Newark early Friday morning in the area of 9th Avenue and South 14th Street and spread to two adjacent structures. Gusty winds carried the flames to two buildings across the street. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe McGowan of Ambridge leans into the wind as he makes his way over the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (Steph Chambers/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)
CORRECTS TO INTERSTATE 16 FROM INTERSTATE 26 – People attend to their vehicle on Interstate 16, near Savannah, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. A brutal winter storm dumped snow in Tallahassee, Fla., on Wednesday for the first time in nearly three decades before slogging up the Atlantic coast and smacking Southern cities such as Savannah and Charleston, South Carolina, with a rare blast of snow and ice. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
The sun begins to set as sledders get in their last minute rides down a snow-covered hill in Newport News, Va., on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Press via AP)
A woman shovels a path to her car in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, as a huge winter storm roared up the East Coast with hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and coastal flooding. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Front loaders dump snow into a melter while clearing the apron around Gates C and D at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in New York. All flights have been suspended temporarily at JFK and LaGuardia airports due to wind and whiteout conditions. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
A woman walks down snow-covered Maverick Street in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, as a huge winter storm roared up the East Coast with hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and coastal flooding. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Youths play ice hockey on a frozen pond at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park during a winter storm, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Stranded travelers and airport workers watch front loaders clear snow from the apron around Gates C and D at Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in New York. All flights have been suspended temporarily at JFK and LaGuardia airports due to wind and whiteout conditions. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Two people walk across the Humarock bridge as blizzard conditions begin to wind-down Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Marshfield, Mass. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Thursday that extends from eastern Long Island north to coastal New Hampshire and Maine. Most of the rest of southern New England is under a winter storm watch. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Front-loaders clear snow from the area around Gates C and D outside Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in New York. All flights have been suspended temporarily at JFK and LaGuardia airports due to wind and whiteout conditions. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Workers place sand bags in front of Aquarium subway station to protect against flooding from Boston Harbor in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. A massive winter storm swept from the Carolinas to Maine on Thursday, dumping snow along the coast and bringing strong winds that will usher in possible record-breaking cold. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
A bulldozer removes storm debris piling it on a street near the flooded Green Harbor commercial area Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Marshfield, Mass. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Thursday that extends from eastern Long Island north to coastal New Hampshire and Maine. Most of the rest of southern New England is under a winter storm watch. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Large chunks of sea ice strewn Ferry Street in front of a flooded house as a utilities truck passes through a nearby intersection Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Marshfield, Mass. The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for Thursday that extends from eastern Long Island north to coastal New Hampshire and Maine. Most of the rest of southern New England is under a winter storm watch. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
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