BOSTON — Winter weather is wreaking havoc across the nation with frigid temperatures and snarled traffic.
A major winter storm bringing heavy snow and freezing rain to some communities spread across New England on Sunday, sending residents scurrying for their shovels and snowblowers to clear sidewalks and driveways.
Winter storm warnings and watches were in effect throughout the Northeast, and icy roads made for hazardous travel as far south as North Carolina.
The Northeast snow came as a Sierra Nevada storm packing heavy snow shut down a stretch of interstate Saturday and briefly knocked out power to tens of thousands in Reno, Nevada.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is warning drivers of a potentially hazardous morning commute on Monday due to forecasted snow and high winds, which could create blizzard-like conditions with blowing snow and low visibility.
Areas of higher concern include the Palmer Divide (Interstate 25, CO 83 and CO 105) and Interstate 70 near Limon. Wind gusts of up to 55 mph are possible along the Palmer Divide and up to 70 mph are possible on eastern I-70, according to a CDOT news release.
“There remains uncertainty with snow amounts, so those who have to travel Monday morning will want to keep up to date with current forecasts,” the news release stated. “Safety closures are likely due to high winds and blowing snow. If you are able to work remotely and avoid traveling during the brunt of the storm Monday morning, it is encouraged.”
In the Denver area, drivers should expect snow to accumulate quickly due to below freezing pavement temperatures ahead of the storm. Snow is anticipated to hit the urban corridor in the early morning hours Jan. 8, with impacts expected through the morning commute. Conditions will worsen both south of Denver along I-25 and east of Denver along I-70. CDOT crews will be out in advance of and throughout the winter storm to clear and treat state-owned highways, with a priority focus on interstates, overpasses, and bridges. COtrip.org for updates.Southeast Colorado can expect blizzard conditions south and east of Pueblo and in northern El Paso County with appreciable snowfall and wind gusts in excess of 50 MPH. Snowfall of up to 6” overnight and into the early morning commute in northern El Paso County will affect the I-25 commute into the Denver Metro area. Blizzard conditions may necessitate highway safety closures in the southeastern plains. The weekend storm dropped significant amounts of snow along several mountain corridors. Travelers should be aware that closures may occur at any time due to winter maintenance operations at snow slide and avalanche areas. Travelers are encouraged to frequently check
Farther west in California, more than 11,000 electric customers were without power Sunday afternoon.
Some communities in Massachusetts had recorded more than a foot of snow by Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Nearly 13,000 electric customers in the state were without power Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of flights at Logan International Airport were delayed or canceled Sunday according to tracking website FlightAware.
Snow totals were lower for coastal communities, with Boston reporting just a few inches (centimeters). Snow was expected to continue throughout the day.
In Cambridge, where snowfall was lighter, residents quickly ventured out.
“I think it’s funny because everyone’s been freaking out about it,” said Alison Conley, 26, a consultant. “We’ve been betting as to how much snow we’re actually going to have and it’s looking like not that much is going to stick.”
Conley, who was out walking her dog Sunny, said the possibility that climate change is contributing to relatively warmer winter days in the region — the temperature in Boston is expected to be in the 50s on Wednesday, melting much of the snow — is a concern.
“I think it’s super alarming,” she said. “It is very weird, but, I don’t know, from a selfish side it’s like kind of nice to not have snow.”
The storm reached into Maine with snow totals of up to 12 inches in some places — with locally higher amounts over southern New Hampshire and southwestern Maine. Wind gusts up 35 mph could add to blowing and drifting snow. Moderate to heavy snow was expected to continue in Vermont, with total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches.
Major winter storm conditions were expected into Sunday evening, including snow in parts of New England and rain and freezing rain around the central Appalachian mountains.
New York City mainly saw rain, but counties to the north and west recorded double-digit snow totals by Sunday morning. Millbrook in Dutchess County, about 75 miles north of New York, recorded a foot of snow. Port Jervis in Orange County reported 13 inches.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday that she expected two-thirds of her state to get 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow or more, “fortunately missing some of our more populated areas downstate, the Long Island and New York City.”
In the West, a winter storm warning was in effect through Saturday night in the Sierra Nevada from south of Yosemite National Park to north of Reno, where the weather service said as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow could fall in the mountains around Lake Tahoe with winds gusting up to 100 mph.
The California Highway Patrol said numerous spinouts and collisions forced an hour-long closure of Interstate 80 from west of Truckee, California to the state line west of Reno.
In Arizona transportation officials said several highways in the state’s northern reaches — including Interstate 40 near Williams and State Route 64 near Grand Canyon National Park — were closed Sunday afternoon due to weather-related crashes and slide-offs from snowfall.
The National Weather Service said Flagstaff was expected to get 4 to 8 inches of snow by Sunday night with Window Rock was forecast to receive 3 to 5 inches.
In Nevada, the weather service said the wind chill dropped to 32 degrees at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas around 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Winds were gusting to 37 mph (60 kph). In northern and western New Mexico, wind chills of 10 to 25 degrees below zero were forecast for early Tuesday.
The East Coast system was expected to track along the Northeast coast throughout the weekend.
A foot (30 centimeters) of snow was reported in parts of Monroe County, Pennsylvania, and 11 inches in New Jersey’s Sussex County.
While warnings were being canceled and highway reduced-speed limits and other restrictions were lifted Sunday, motorists were being cautioned about the hazards of spotty freezing rain and black ice in southeast Pennsylvania and northern New Jersey.
In Massachusetts and portions of Rhode Island, the National Weather Service declared a winter storm warning from 4 p.m. Saturday through 1 a.m. Monday, with snow accumulations of between 6 and 12 inches and winds gusting to 35 mph.
Ice arrived early Saturday in some western North Carolina and southern Virginia areas, ranging from a fine coating to around a quarter-inch.
Forecasters also warned of another Northeast storm Tuesday into Wednesday that is expected to drop heavy rain on already saturated ground. They warned of possible flooding and coastal flooding and a threat of damaging winds that could topple trees and power lines.
The Trucker Staff contributed to this report.
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