A surprise snowstorm assaulted New England for a second day Wednesday, burying Massachusetts under nearly 2 feet of snow and knocking out power to more than 180,000 people, while a record heat wave baked the Plains to the Rockies.
The wintry spring storm, which moved into New England during Tuesday morning's rush hour and has been blamed for at least one death, sent road crews scrambling to set up snow-removal equipment that had been stored away for the summer.
'It's kind of depressing for everyone,' said police Sgt. Duane Phelps in Rumford, Maine. 'Everyone wants to go to Florida right now.'
By late Wednesday, the storm was over northern Maine and was weakening as it moved off the coast.
'I don't like it at all,' said Paul Sawski of Worcester, Mass. 'One day it's (springlike) and then you turn around and there's 2 feet of snow. Somebody's playing games.'
'It's terrible. It's been too much this year,' said Janet Phillips of Dublin, N.H. 'It's something to see the flowers up through the snow, though. At least you know there's hope.'
Ashburnham and Lunenburg, Mass., were buried under 21 inches of snow, while 18 inches was measured in Francestown, N.H., and 17 inches was on the ground in Mt. Vernon, N.H. and Worcester, Mass. -- the most snow ever reported so late in the season and the largest spring snowstorm on record.
The latest pile of snow also brought the total April snowfall in Worcester to 21 inches, breaking the previous record monthly total of 20 inches, set in 1894. The Worcester Airport, which was snowed shut Tuesday afternoon, finally reopened Wednesday morning.
Other hefty snowfall amounts included 16 inches in Bradford, N.H., 15 inches in Glocester-Burrillville, R.I., 13 inches in Brassua, Maine, 8 inches in Waterford, Vt. and 6 inches in Lebanon, Vt.
Several schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts canceled classes, and state offices in New Hampshire opened late. Both radio stations in Fitchburg, Mass., were knocked off the air and the snow was blamed for hundreds of traffic accidents.
At least one death was blamed on the storm. Placida Rivard of Claremont, N.H., was killed on snow-slick Route 103 in Newbury, N.H., when a car driven by her husband skidded and collided with another car Tuesday night, police said.
More than 180,000 New Englanders were without power at the height of the storm, including some 64,000 in Massachusetts, 60,000 in Maine, 50,000 in New Hampshire and 13,000 in Vermont. By late Wednesday nearly 100,000 remained without power and could remain so for days in parts of Massachusetts.
The temperature dipped to the 30s in Maine, while 40s and 50s were common over the rest of New England and New York. Elsewhere, a record-shattering heat wave in the western two-thirds of the nation brought readings in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
Records in the 70s and 90s were set five cities in Wyoming, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas.
Rainshowers reached across eastern New York into New Jersey and dotted the Great Basin, southern California, Arizona, and the Central Rockies. Skies were mostly clear to partly cloudy in other areas.