BOSTON (AP) — A massive storm packing hurricane-force winds and blizzard conditions is sweeping through the Northeast, dumping more than 2 feet of snow on New England and knocking out power to 650,000 customers.
More than 28 inches of snow had fallen in parts of central Connecticut by early Saturday, and areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire notched 2 feet or more.
The National Weather Service says up to 3 feet is expected in Boston, threatening the city's 2003 record of 27.6 inches.
A midwinter storm headed to the Northeast U.S. on Friday could drop more than a foot of snow, setting up a weekend of skiing, sledding and snowmobiling in places that have been stuck with bare ground for much of the season.
The storm comes just after the 35th anniversary of the historic blizzard of 1978, which paralyzed the region with more than 2 feet of snow and hurricane force winds. This week's storm isn't expected to come close to that, but outdoor enthusiasts who have been disappointed with the season so far say they'll take what they can get.
Many of northern New England's rural communities depend on snowmobilers to keep stores, restaurants, motels and gas stations going strong, and they've seen a sudden increase in traffic thanks to recent snowfalls.
Many areas of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont saw little snow last year and a snowmobiling season that never really got off the ground. In Island Pond, which bills itself as Vermont's snowmobiling capital, the season was shortened to seven weeks from the usual 14.
Vermont's winter resorts are celebrating what's shaping up to be a terrific holiday week, thanks mainly to the weather
Jay Peak President Bill Stenger says his northern Vermont resort was already in good shape, with more than a foot of natural snow in recent days and excellent weather recently for making snow. With a big new storm hitting the state, Stenger says that's making for superb conditions as the New Year's weekend approaches.
Many Vermont resorts are reporting that most or all of their skiing and riding trails are open.
Road crews across the region were out early this morning to try to keep ahead of heavy snowfall as the biggest snowstorm in nearly two years hit the region.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation had its snowplow crews out early Thursday morning as the snowflakes began to fall and have kept most major roads in the state passable. Vermont Agency of Transportation Director of Operations Scott Rogers says the storm is what they would expect for a significant snowfall event.
Airports, communities, utilities and emergency responders across the region are preparing for the first substantial winter storm to hit the region in nearly two years.
The winter storm that will bring nearly a foot and a half of snow could cause power outages, travel delays and back aches as people dig out. Clinton County Director of Emergency Services Eric Day says he’s concerned because it is the first winter storm of the year and the first substantial storm in a couple years.
A forecasted heavy winter storm is good news for area ski resorts and winter sports enthusiasts.
The winter storm that is expected to bring up to a foot and a half of snow to the region is coming during a key weekend for ski resorts. The Christmas to New Year holiday week accounts for substantial revenues, and Mad River Glen Spokesman Eric Friedman says a deep natural snowfall will bring more skiiers to the slopes.
Forecasters say some trees and power lines could be dragged down by heavy, wet snow expected to pile up as much as a foot deep in parts of western New York by Tuesday morning.
Shawn Smith of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says a storm moving up the East Coast will bring snow to western New York throughout the day Monday. By the time it peters out Tuesday, there may be 7 to 14 inches of snow in higher elevations of western New York, 5 to 9 inches in Buffalo, and 3 to 5 inches in Rochester.