Winter-weary residents of the Northeast are getting another dose of snow, sleet and freezing rain. The second winter storm of the week is canceling classes, closing government and business offices, and causing hundreds of thousands of power outages across the region after wreaking similar havoc in the Midwest on Tuesday. Anywhere from a few inches to a foot or more of snow was expected to fall Wednesday on East Coast states, while some were getting freezing rain and sleet that made driving treacherous. It’s their second go-round since a snow fell on Monday.
Officials in New York and New Jersey warned they were beginning to run short of the rock salt used by road crews to keep ice from building up on highways and local roads, the result of the season’s repeated storms.
“We have a salt shortage for some parts of the state, primarily New York City and the Long Island area, because there have been so many storms this season already,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on a conference call. “The state does have a significant amount of salt on hand, we’ll be shipping salt around the state.”
Neighboring New Jersey reported a similar shortage.
Icy conditions knocked out power to more than 600,000 customers in eastern and central Pennsylvania and caused school and legislative delays as well as speed reduction on major roadways. Falling trees became a hazard for motorists.
In addition to power outages in Pennsylvania, Maryland had 140,000; New Jersey, 62,000; Arkansas, 48,000; Kentucky 10,000; Delaware, 6,000; and Connecticut, 300.
Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and state offices were closed for non-essential employees, as the state got snow in northern parts, sleet and freezing rain in some areas, and all rain in southern counties. Tens of thousands of customers were without power and schools were closed or delayed.
The storm has had far reaching effects with nearly two dozen states affected including Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Missouri, Wisconsin and New Hampshire all reporting snow and ice.
The recent string of storms have taken a toll on the region in many ways, some less evident than others. The blood supply at donor banks, for one, is currently depleted because the bad weather has forced scheduled blood drives to be canceled.
The storm also grounded thousands of flights, in a routine that is becoming grimly familiar for travelers this winter. More than 1,700 flights were canceled and another 4,100 flights were delayed as a result of the winter storm.
By the time the storm has ended, it will have directly affected more than two dozen states and at least 100 million people with snow and/or ice.