(Reuters) – A heavy snowstorm and dangerously cold conditions gripped the northeastern United States on Friday, delaying flights, paralyzing road travel and closing schools and government offices across the region.
Boston was hardest-hit by the first major winter storm of 2014, getting nearly 14 inches of snow, while some towns north of New England’s largest city saw close to two feet of accumulation.
Snow and cold stretched from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, with Washington and New York’s morning commutes also hampered by several inches (cm) of fresh powder.
Meteorologists said the snow would taper off across much of the region by late morning, but dangerously cold conditions were expected to linger into Saturday. The National Weather Service said the mass of Arctic air would drop temperatures to 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (11-17 C) below normal, with record lows possible in some areas on Friday.
“Over the next 24 hours we are going to see temperatures like we haven’t seen in quite a while,” said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. “Parts of the state are going to see temperatures 20 degrees below zero (F/-29 C) — not with wind-chill, real temperatures. It’s going to be problematic.”
Washington received more than 2 inches of snow, Baltimore some 3 to 6 inches, Philadelphia roughly 5 inches, Hartford 6 to 10 inches and Boston some 14 inches.
Some 1,708 U.S. flights were canceled and 949 were delayed early on Friday, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks air traffic.
Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport in New York and Boston Logan International Airport reported the most canceled departures.
New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport suspended operations as the city’s three major airports prepared hundreds of cots to accommodate stranded travelers.
The United Nations in New York and federal courts in New Jersey shut down, and New York public schools and the City University of New York closed. Schools were also closed in Hoboken and Jersey City, in New Jersey, and in Boston and Providence, Massachusetts.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told CNN Friday morning that most schools and colleges in the state were closed. The governors of New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency.
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