A winter storm that left ice and snow across portions of the south and was being blamed for at least three deaths turned its attention to New England on Sunday, where travel conditions have already become treacherous and a chain-reaction accident on a Connecticut road involved nearly two-dozen cars.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said 19.5in of snow fell on East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, about 30 miles south of Boston, with areas of Rhode Island reporting a foot of snow, and up to 10in of snow falling in parts of Connecticut.
The storm was pulling out into the Atlantic Ocean and forecasters said the snow should be winding down.
Before the storm churned north along the Atlantic coast, it left icy conditions in Alabama and Mississippi, where a former governor was hospitalized after he slipped and fell on his driveway. At least seven locations in North Carolina reported 10in of snow as the storm entered the state on Saturday and blizzard conditions occurred in south-east Virginia.
The three deaths related to the storm occurred in Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky, and officials said they were the result of cars traveling on roads made slick by ice. Other traffic deaths are being investigated to determine if weather played a factor.
North Carolina power outages peaked around 25,000, according to Governor Roy Cooper, but power company figures indicate the number had dropped to several thousand by late Saturday.
Forecasters in New England were expecting up to a foot of snow in Boston, but Cape Cod and other parts of the south Massachusetts coast were in line for up to 2ft of wind-driven snow and police implored residents to stay home and off the roads.
Winter storm in North Carolina and Virginia leaves roads impassable
Officials at Boston’s Logan international airport urged travelers to check with their airlines since numerous flights were canceled or delayed, many because of weather conditions elsewhere in the US.
Long lines were reported at supermarkets and hardware stores where residents were scooping up snow blowers and supplies such as ice melt and windshield wiper fluid.
At least three tractor-trailers and a tanker were involved in the pile-up on a snowy stretch of Interstate 91 in Middletown, Connecticut, early on Saturday afternoon. Video released by state police on Twitter showed several damaged cars and a truck that appeared jackknifed across the roadway.
Middletown’s mayor said several people were treated for minor injuries at the scene and a few were brought to area hospitals.
Connecticut police said the crash was one of at least 115 around the state between 10am and 4pm.
“The driving conditions are unsafe,” said state highway director Tom Tinlin. “We are talking about the potential for white-out conditions, close to zero visibility.”
North Carolina reported more than 700 crashes, while Virginia state police said they responded to 500. Parts of three interstates in Mississippi were gridlocked by icy conditions. Hundreds of flights were canceled, from Atlanta to airports farther north.
Dangerous driving conditions were behind the decision by officials to postpone Saturday night’s men’s basketball game between North Carolina and North Carolina State. The game was rescheduled for 1pm on Sunday.
In Portland, Oregon, two basketball games fell victim to approaching severe winter weather. The NBA game between the Trail Blazers and the Detroit Pistons, scheduled for Saturday night, was postponed and moved to Sunday. No5 Gonzaga’s scheduled men’s basketball game at Portland also was postponed, although no makeup date was announced.
A family spokesman said former Mississippi governor William Winter was in intensive care with a concussion after falling on the steep, icy driveway of his Jackson home.
University of Mississippi Medical Center spokeswoman Alana Bowman said the 93-year-old Winter was in serious condition.
Former Winter staff member Dick Molpus, speaking for the ex-governor’s family, says a neurologist told them Winter is responding well and his prognosis for recovery is good.