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Heavy snow in Northeast grounds hundreds of flights

By
Don Jacobson & Danielle Haynes & Darryl Coote
A pedestrian holds a flipped umbrella while she takes a giant step over a wet puddle in New York City on Thursday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A pedestrian holds a flipped umbrella while she takes a giant step over a wet puddle in New York City on Thursday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Hundreds of flights have been canceled in the United States due to a nor'easter in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, which has dumped more than 2 feet of snow in some areas.

More than 700 flights were canceled on Wednesday and another 700 had been by midday Thursday, according to FlightAware.com.

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United and Southwest airlines canceled about 100 flights each, JetBlue canceled about 65, and Delta and American airlines canceled about 50 each.

Boston's Logan Airport was the most affected flight origination point Thursday, with more than 100 canceled flights, followed by Newark-Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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At Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall, a Spirit Airlines jetliner skidded off the taxiway after landing Thursday morning. An airline representative told WUSA9-TV that no one was injured.

Amtrak is operating on a modified schedule in parts of the Northeast and has canceled some services until at least Friday.

The storm has been blanketing wide swaths of the eastern United States, from the central Appalachians to New England, the National Weather Service said.

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Central Pennsylvania and south-central New York state began Thursday with up to 2 feet of new snow, with some areas receiving up to 3 feet.

Snowfall has also been heavy in major cities along the Eastern Seaboard. More than 6 inches had fallen in New York City's Central Park by early Thursday. Boston set a new daily record of snow for Dec. 17, with 9.1 inches. It broke the previous record by nearly 3 inches.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who declared a state of emergency in 18 counties, said there were two storm-related deaths and about 600 car crashes. He warned residents to stay home if possible.

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Jason Garnar, the executive of Broome County, which is south of Syracuse, called it a "historic snowstorm" with more than 40 inches of snow fell in 12 hours in the county.

"We have never seen anything like this before," he said in a storm response update Thursday afternoon. "I guess 2020 being what 2020 is I should have expected something like this to happen."

Garnar had issued a travel ban on Wednesday, prohibiting all but essential vehicles from the road due to the quantity of snow that fell.

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The 911 dispatch has received more than 600 snow-related calls, he said, adding four-wheel drive vehicles were called in to transport people to hospitals when ambulances were unable to move through the snow.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday said Code Blue was in effect to get homeless people off the streets amid the plunging temperatures.

"Look out for your neighbors," he said during a media availability. "Look out for someone that has any special need."

Zone Sgt. Jason Cawley rescued Kevin Kresen, 58, of Candor, a village about 64 miles south of Syracuse, who had been trapped by snow in his car by a snow plow truck for more than 10 hours, suffering from hypothermia and frostbite.

New York State Police posted pictures on Twitter of Cawley with Kresen as he was recuperating at the hospital.



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In the Pittsburgh suburb of North Versailles, a 63-year-old man died after being struck by a snowplow Wednesday night, WTAE-TV reported.

Police in central Pennsylvania's Clinton County said two people died in a crash involving dozens of vehicles. Another driver died in a one-vehicle crash in Snyder County.

Snowfall is expected to continue throughout Thursday and gradually taper off into the evening. Forecasters say an additional 6 inches to 12 inches are expected across parts of New England, in addition to what had already fallen.

By December standards, the storm is one of the largest in recent memory.

Prior to this snowstorm, the last time New York City saw more than 6 inches from a single storm was 2010, when about 20 inches fell in late December.

AccuWeather contributed to this report.

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