Massive winter storm hits U.S. east coast

A major nor’easter is combining with high tide to cause flooding along coastal areas of the Eastern Seaboard. (Ben Garver  The Berkshire Eagle via

Massive winter storm hits U.S. east coast

Freezing rain, sleet, snow, and risky winds are battering the East Coast right now, causing flight delays and cancelations to and from cities all along the eastern seaboard.

The National Weather Service for Boston warned of continued flooding through the afternoon, with a surge of two and a half to three feet, and 20 foot swells at sea.

This is a very risky, life-threatening event along our coastline, particularly at ocean exposed shorelines from Salisbury to Plymouth.

Like the nor'easter in January, this storm could undergo bombogenesis - or become a "bomb cyclone" - by dropping at least 24 millibars of atmospheric pressure in 24 hours. "It continues to strengthen". With the storm so far away, the lingering hazards showed how powerful and massive it is, he said.

MA was hit hard by the storm. At its peak, winds had knocked out power to more than 2 million people, including more than 400,000 in MA and 320,000 across the state of NY.

"This is one of the more extreme storms in recent memory in terms of coastal flooding and damaging wind potential along the coast, but also includes heavy wet snow and heavy rain as important factors", the agency said. Boat and plane service to and from the island is expected to be interrupted from Friday through Saturday and possibly into Sunday until winds and seas die down. A foot of snow had already fallen in parts of eastern MA. He added it was a recipe for power outages.

The storm grounded 5,489 flights, both domestic and worldwide, and scores more were delayed, according to FlightAware.com.

American, Delta, United and Southwest airlines - the four biggest carriers in the country - have flexible change policies for travel to the Northeast because of the storm.

At the height of the strong winds, New York's LaGuardia airport stopped all arrivals and departures and JFK International Airport experienced periodic interruptions of service.

Some people living in the affected region skipped work Friday to hunker down.

Freezing temperatures and wind gusts pounded the Washington, D.C., area, downing trees, knocking out power and forcing schools and the federal government to close. The wind even directed its wrath at the Capitol, blowing out a window on the west front over the Olmstead Terrace, an official from the Architect of the Capitol office said.

Across the East Coast, authorities told residents of coastal communities to be prepared to evacuate, if necessary, in advance of high tides.

Michelle Shaffer, 45, of the coastal MA town of Hull, lost her appliances beneath nearly two metres of water during the last big storm.

A flight information board shows cancelled flights as a storm bringing high winds passes over Reagan National Airport in Washington.

"March comes in lamb's clothing Thursday, but by Thursday night, the lion will roar", he said.

A major Nor'easter is starting to slam the East Coast with heavy rain, intermittent snow and strong winds.

On New York's Long Island, the flooding could result in numerous road closings and could flood homes, businesses and parking lots.

A high tide that occurred late Friday morning came up a little short, reaching 14.67 feet, but still sent water sloshing through the streets of East Boston.

"The early-morning tide is going to be extraordinarily high and if people left their houses, we don't want them to go back", Nantucket police Lt. Angus MacVicar said. Steady tropical-storm strength winds were recorded in Boston.

The commuter system Metro-North said service in parts of CT and Long Island, New York, remain suspended Saturday due to fallen utility poles and trees.

Forecasters with the National Weather Service are warning that if you're venturing out to see the storm that coastal flooding should be observed from a "safe location/distance".

Significant snow accumulation is expected at higher elevations in northwest New Jersey and the Poconos.

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