Northeast tries to dig out, power up after latest storm

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Northeast tries to dig out, power up after latest storm
Northeast tries to dig out, power up after latest storm

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Residents in the Northeast dug out from as much as 2 feet of wet, heavy snow Thursday, while utilities dealt with downed trees and power lines that snarled traffic and left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the dark after two strong nor’easters – all with the possibility of another storm headed to the area.

With many schools closed for a second day, forecasters tracked the possibility of another late-season snowstorm to run up the coast early next week.

“The strength of it and how close it comes to the coast will make all the difference. At this point it’s too early to say,” said Jim Nodchey, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Massachusetts. “We’re just looking at a chance.”

At least two deaths were blamed on the storm.

Snow still was falling Thursday in places including Vermont, where storm warnings were in effect until the evening.

More than 800,000 customers were without power in the Northeast, including some who have been without electricity since last Friday’s destructive nor’easter. Thousands of flights across the region were canceled, and traveling on the ground was treacherous.

A train carrying more than 100 passengers derailed in Wilmington, Massachusetts, after a fallen tree branch got wedged in a rail switch. Nobody was hurt. Tory Mazzola, a spokesman for Keolis Commuter Services, which runs the system for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said the low-speed derailment remains under investigation.

In New Hampshire, Interstate 95 in Portsmouth was closed in both directions because of downed power lines, leaving traffic at a standstill for hours.

Amtrak restored modified service between New York City and Boston on Thursday after suspending it because of the storm. New York City’s Metro-North commuter railroad, which had suspended service on lines connecting the city to its northern suburbs and Connecticut because of downed trees, restored partial service Thursday.

In Wells, Maine, the Maine Diner remained open even though much of the town was without power after the storm dumped a foot-and-a-half of snow.

“If people are going to lose power, then they need some place to go. We do everything we can to stay open and provide that service,” said Jim MacNeill, the restaurant’s general manager.

Steve Marchillo, a finance director at the University of Connecticut’s Hartford branch, said he enjoyed the sight of heavily snow-laden trees on his way into work Thursday but they also made him nervous.

“It looks cool as long as they don’t fall down on you and you don’t lose power,” he said.

The Mount Snow ski area in Dover, Vermont, received 31 inches of snow by Thursday morning with more still falling. The resort said the snowfall from the past two storms would set it up for skiing through the middle of April.

Montville, New Jersey, got more than 26 inches from Wednesday’s nor’easter. North Adams, Massachusetts, registered 24 inches, and Sloatsburg, New York, got 26 inches.

Major cities along the Interstate 95 corridor saw much less. Philadelphia International Airport recorded about 6 inches, while New York City’s Central Park saw less than 3 inches.

The storm was not as severe as the nor’easter that toppled trees, flooded coastal communities and caused more than 2 million power outages from Virginia to Maine last Friday.

It still proved to be a headache for the tens of thousands of customers still in the dark from the earlier storm – and for the crews trying to restore power to them. Eversource, an electric utility serving Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire, said it could take several days to restore power for everyone due partly to the challenge of clearing storm debris and repairing damage.

Massachusetts was hardest hit by outages, with more than 345,000 utility customers losing service Thursday. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker shut down all non-essential state offices.

In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage also closed state offices and encouraged residents to stay off roads “unless it is an absolute emergency.”

In New Jersey, the state’s major utilities reported more than 247,000 customers without power a day after the storm.

An 88-year-old woman in the New York City suburb of Suffern was crushed to death by a tree that fell as she shoveled snow Wednesday, and a man died Thursday in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, when he apparently drove around cones warning motorists about a downed live wire and the vehicle caught fire.

A pickup truck driver who was struck by a snowplow Thursday morning in Lebanon, New Hampshire, also died. Police said an investigation would determine if weather conditions were a factor.

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This story has been corrected to show New Jersey has more than 247,000 power outages, not 247,000,000.

Tom Dubis Shovels off the steps at the Paciorek Funeral Home In Adams, Mass.,Thursday March, 8, 2018. The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts received 12 to 32 inches of snow overnight. (Ben Garver//The Berkshire Eagle via AP)
Josslyn Rustay, 6, makes sure to stay directly in the line of fire as her mother Kristy MacWilliams uses the snow blower in the driveway at their house on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield on Thursday, March 8, 2018 after the heavy snowfall Wednesday. (Stephanie Zollshan/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)
Josslyn Rustay, 6, rolls down the hill above the driveway to her house on West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield on Thursday, March 8, 2018 after the heavy snowfall Wednesday. (Stephanie Zollshan/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)
John Visco clears snow from around the cars in his driveway in Derry, N.H., Thursday, March 8, 2018. An overnight, winter storm blanketed the area with over a foot of snow. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Upton Department of Public Works worker Rob Marcoux, of Bellingham, Mass., uses a chainsaw to cut up fallen tree limbs, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Upton. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Cars at Berkshire Mazda on East Street in Pittsfield are cleaned off after heavy snow, Thursday, March 8, 2018. The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts received 12 to 32 inches of snow overnight. (Ben Garver//The Berkshire Eagle via AP)
Bruno Medina, of Natick, Mass., removes snow from vehicles at a used car lot, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Natick. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Albert Rodriguez shovels a sidewalk in Haverhill, Mass., Thursday, March 8, 2018. An overnight, winter storm blanketed the area with about a foot of snow, causing power outages and the cancellation of school. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Kevin Crowley, of Weyland, Mass., works to remove damaged tree branches from a driveway, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Sherborn, Mass. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
School bus driver Greg Atibu, shovels out his van in Haverhill, Mass., Thursday, March 8, 2018. An overnight, winter storm blanketed the area with about a foot of snow, causing power outages and the cancellation of school. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Al Lewis starts a car At Harry’s Auto Sales in Cheshire, Mass., Thursday March, 8, 2018. The Berkshires in Western Massachusetts received 12 to 32 inches of snow overnight. (Ben Garver//The Berkshire Eagle via AP)
A tree branch fallen from the weight of heavy snow lies on top of a fire truck in East Hartford, Conn., Thursday, March 8, 2018. The branch that fell took down live power lines and landed onto the truck as it was parked responding to a fire. No one was injured. Connecticut’s two major utilities were reporting more than 125,000 power outages Thursday morning. (Jessica Hill/Journal Inquirer via AP)
A Portland, Maine resident uses a snowblower to clear snow during a nor’easter, Thursday, March 8, 2018. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
In this frame from video, a pair of good Samaritans push a motorist who was stuck in deep snow during a snowstorm, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Freeport, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Brian Farrell, of Walpole, Mass., left, enters his home Thursday, March 8, 2018, after a tree fell on the house and a car, right, in Walpole. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The Hilderbrand family, Gianni DeMasi-Hilderbrand, 6, front left, and Olivia Hilderbrand, 9, right, plays in the snow making snow angels at Richter Park in Danbury, Conn., during Wednesday’s snowstorm, March 7, 2018. (Carol Kaliff/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
A man clears snow off of his car on State Street in Danbury, Conn., during Wednesday’s snowstorm, March 7, 2018. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed an order banning tractor-trailers and tandem trailers on Connecticut highways to help neighboring New York manage its traffic as highway conditions worsen because of the nor’easter. (Carol Kaliff/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP)
Men push a vehicle stuck on a snowbank along Route 23 during a snowstorm, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Wayne, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A Portland, Maine resident uses a snowblower to clear snow during a nor’easter, Thursday, March 8, 2018. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter.(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Portland, Maine residenta walk across a snowy street during a nor’easter, Thursday, March 8, 2018. For the second time in less than a week, a storm rolled into the Northeast with wet, heavy snow Wednesday and Thursday, grounding flights, closing schools and bringing another round of power outages to a corner of the country still recovering from the previous blast of winter. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A lineman works to restore power amid limbs sagging with heavy wet snow after a snowstorm, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Northborough, Mass. The storm produced heavy, wet snow that brought down tree limbs and power lines. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)
A motorist navigates around a downed limb partially blocking a road and resting on a power line after a snowstorm, Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Northborough, Mass. The storm produced heavy, wet snow that brought down tree limbs and power lines. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)
Paul Francis, a lineman for INTREN electric company from Chicago, repairs the power line that was knocked down by a fallen tree on Valley Road in Media, Pa., Thursday, March 8, 2018. Pennsylvania utility companies say more than 110,000 customers are without power following the state’s second major snowstorm in less than a week. (Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Crew members from PIKE electric company from Maryland pull a downed power line on New Road in Aston, Pa., in order to reconnect it on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Pennsylvania utility companies say more than 110,000 customers are without power following the state’s second major snowstorm in less than a week. (Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
A lineman for PIKE electric company, from southern Maryland, pulls up a downed powerline on New Road in Aston, Pa.,, in order to reconnect it on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Michael Bryant /The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Crews from 3Phase Line Construction, from Chicago, work on War Trophy Lane in Aston, Pa., to try to bring back power to the residential neighborhood on Thursday, March 8, 2018. (Michael Bryant /The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)
Amber Cox shovels the porch roof at her home in Auburn, Maine, on Thursday, March 8, 2018. The second major storm in less than a week is moving up the East Coast, dumping heavy snow and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses from Pennsylvania to New England. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal via AP)
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