After a Northeast dropped more than a foot of snow in many parts of the New England interior, more are on the way Saturday as authorities warn of hazardous travel conditions over the weekend -end before Christmas.
The storm – part of a weather system that rocked several Southern communities with killer tornadoes and grueling power outages earlier this week – also left thousands in the dark as it moved through the northeast, where minimum temperatures are now below zero.
Heavy snow is expected to persist through Saturday in New York and New England, including parts of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, National Weather Service forecasters said. More than 5 million people are subject to winter weather alerts – winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings and lake effect snowfall warnings – from New York to Maine on Saturday morning.
“Travel conditions will be hazardous at times and scattered power outages are to be expected,” the weather service warned.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel.
“Rain will change to snow making travel difficult later this afternoon and evening,” Hochul said Friday. “New Yorkers should remain vigilant and monitor the forecast throughout the day today, especially in the northern parts of the country and areas along Lakes Erie and Ontario.”
Heavy, wet snow fell quickly on Friday, knocking down trees and power lines, leading to outages in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York. Forecasters pointed out that places with higher elevations were more likely to see heavier snow.
More than 175,000 homes and businesses were without power in three New England states as of 12:45 p.m. ET Saturday, according to PowerOutage.us: 49,800 outages in Vermont; 53,900 in New Hampshire; and 71,600 in Maine.
About 28,900 homes and businesses were without power in New York state as of early Saturday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us.
State Vermont police said Officers responded to a slew of car crashes on Friday and advised drivers to slow down. Some roads were also closed due to the impact of the storm.
Over a 36-hour period, 24.5 inches of snow fell in the city of Wilmington, Vermont, as well as more than 19 inches in Landgrove and Ludlow, the weather service said.
In the same time frame, about 20 inches fell in Rensselaerville, New York, about 25 miles west of Albany, the weather service said. To the east, nearly 19 inches of snow piled up in Savoy, Massachusetts. in New Hampshire, the town of Claremont saw 17 inches of snow.
Most of the heavy snowfall – a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour – is expected to end Saturday evening, with flurries possibly continuing through Sunday. Snow totals in Maine could reach up to 2 feet, the weather service said Saturday. The northeast should be clear of the storm by the end of the weekend.
As cities at higher elevations face increased snowfall, a separate storm could bring heavy snowfall to areas downwind of major lakes, especially lakes Erie and Ontario.
“We are currently observing two different weather events – one producing rain and snow this morning for most of the state, and the other has the potential to bring several feet of snow to the Tug Plateau. Hill and areas along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario,” said New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray.
Additionally, up to 2 feet of snow may accumulate in areas near or south of Buffalo, New York. “These bands of snow are likely to be very narrow and result in dramatically changing conditions over a short distance,” the weather service added.
While residents are dealing with continued snow and cold temperatures in the Northeast, other parts of the United States have also faced wintry conditions.
More than 14,000 Minnesota homes and businesses were left without power Saturday morning, mostly in the east-central part of the state, according to Poweroutage.us, following this week’s blizzard conditions in the northern plains and the Upper Midwest.
“Snow showers are gradually ending in the region with only light scattered snow showers expected through Saturday morning,” the weather service said.
Elsewhere, the same storm system hitting the northeast brought tornadoes earlier this week to several southern states. Dozens of tornadoes have been reported in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma since Tuesday.
In Louisiana, three people – including a mother, her 8-year-old son and a 56-year-old woman – died when tornadoes swept through their homes.
Another tornado in northern Louisiana passed through the town of Farmerville was rated EF-3, with winds of 140 mph, according to NWS. At least 20 people were injured as the tornado tore down parts of residential areas, according to Farmerville Police Detective Cade Nolan.