More Snow Ahead for U.S. Northeast as Storm Moves to Sea

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gsr-96587Another round of snow will sweep across much of the U.S. Northeast overnight as a winter storm that grounded more than 11,000 flights and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands in the past three days starts to move into the Atlantic.

New York and Boston could easily pick up a few more inches and accumulations in parts of Pennsylvania and central New England may reach close to 20 inches (51 centimeters), said Alex Sosnowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

“There will be another batch of snow that swings up this evening, probably late tonight in New York and then Boston will get it in the wee hours of the morning,” Sosnowski said. “Some folks could conceivably clear off their snow and then wake up tomorrow with more snow on the ground.”

At least 20 deaths were linked to the storm as it swept out of Texas and up the East Coast, the Associated Press said.

Since Feb. 11, 11,313 flights throughout the U.S. have been canceled, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking service. As of 6:46 p.m. New York time, 6,484 were scrubbed today, including about 86 percent from and 85 percent to Washington’s Reagan National Airport.

The storm knocked out power to 742,603 customers in 11 states from Texas to New Jersey as of 2:30 p.m., according to an Energy Department report that didn’t count blackouts involving fewer than 1,000 customers.

Power Out

Georgia and South Carolina were the hardest hit. At least 344,365 customers, or 7 percent of Georgia’s users, were without power, while in South Carolina it was 224,455, or 9 percent, the department said.

Government offices in Washington shut, and public school classes were canceled in Philadelphia and Washington. Philadelphia schools will be closed tomorrow as well. Rail service between Washington and Boston operated on a reduced schedule, Amtrak said in a statement.

In Central Park, 9.5 inches were on the ground as of 1 p.m., and the weather service increased its projections for New York to 10 to 16 inches from 8 to 12. Three to 7 inches may fall overnight, the agency said. Boston’sLogan International Airport had 0.3 inch as of 2:07 p.m.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for New York City, Long Island and the mid-Hudson Valley. He urged motorists to stay off the roads.

The storm moved into the area with more strength than the computer models had forecast, said Joe Pollina, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

Models Missed

“The computer models didn’t pick up on a piece of energy that squeezed out all the available moisture,” said Gary Best, a meteorologist with Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Snow fell at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour in New York before that band moved north into New England, Best said. New York has had eight days this season with a snowfall of 3 inches or more, the most since 1960-61, said Weather 2000 Inc.

The South is struggling to recover from snow and ice that has been falling there for the past three days. As of 9 a.m., 19 inches were reported in Cherry Grove, West Virginia, 18 in Winchester, Virginia, and 15 in Saluda, North Carolina, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

A spotter trained by the weather service reported 18 inches in Greenville, Virginia, about 45 miles west of Charlottesville. Another spotter recorded 18 inches in Ballenger Creek, Maryland, about 43 miles north of Washington.

Washington Snow

Reagan National got 6.6 inches of snow and Washington may receive 2 to 4 more inches through the night, said Steve Goldstein, a weather service meteorologist in Sterling, Virginia.

“The worst of it is over but they’re still out there trying to clean up, and they’re going to be dealing with some more snowfall through the evening,” Goldstein said by telephone.

A half-inch or more of ice fell across a wide area of central Georgia, including in Augusta and Marietta, the Weather Prediction Center said. Three inches coated Forest Acres, South Carolina, where the state asked people not to drive until the storm passed.

After the current storm moves off toward the Canadian Maritimes, a second system is expected to move eastward across the U.S. tomorrow, Best said.

It will leave light snow on the central Great Plains through Ohio Valley tomorrow and reach the mid-Atlantic region by nightfall, Sosnowski said. There’s a chance it could strengthen over the Atlantic and bring snow to Bostonthis weekend.