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Winter storm brings snow to Northeast, causing travel disruptions and school cancellations

A worker clears snow as last-minute shoppers leave a Market Basket supermarket during a fast-moving winter storm expected to hit the northeastern United States, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. February 13, 2024. Photo by Ken McGagh/Reuters

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Parts of the Northeast were hit Tuesday by a snowstorm that canceled flights and schools and prompted people to stay off the roads, while some areas that Those expecting heavy snow received less than that depending on weather conditions. amended.

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More than 1,000 flights have been canceled so far Tuesday morning, mostly at airports in the New York and Boston area.

This is New York’s first major snowstorm since February 2022. The city, which has the nation’s largest school system, moved to remote learning but reported problems with the online system which prevented students from logging in Tuesday morning.

“It’s been a quiet winter, so it’s pretty welcoming,” said Ricky Smith, who was on his way to a construction site in the city. “I just hope no one gets hurt.”

Mayor Eric Adams asked New Yorkers not to underestimate the storm. “Let Mother Nature do her job,” he said. “The aim of the game is to keep our roads clear, and we hope that people will use public transportation or, if they can stay home, that they will.”

Adams defended the decision to go to remote learning and not declare a snow day, amid criticism from students and parents.

“So it’s very important to use this as a teaching moment for our children to learn how to continue the expansion of remote learning,” the mayor told WPIX-TV. “We have gone backwards in education because of COVID. We cannot allow our young people to miss days of school.”

In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont ordered all executive branch buildings closed to the public for the day.

“The timing of the winter storm is particularly concerning, especially since snowfall is expected to be heavy during the morning rush hours and continue into the afternoon,” Lamont said in a statement.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation temporarily reduced the speed limit on several highways to 45 mph (72 km/h) in the east-central region of the state due to the storm.

“Simply put, conditions are extremely poor,” the Doylestown Township Police Department said. “Most roads are snowy and slippery. Please stay home unless absolutely necessary.”

Some of the heaviest snowfall, 8 inches or more, was forecast for parts of the northern suburbs of New York, Connecticut, southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts could reach 60 mph (100 km/h) off the coast of Massachusetts and 40 mph (65 km/h) in inland parts of southern New England.

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Before the storm, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey asked all non-essential executive branch employees not to report to work on Tuesday. Boston schools were closing and a parking ban was in effect. Similar closures and bans have been put in place in other cities and towns. Emergency services had equipment to help keep the roads clear.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the city’s homeless shelters would remain open.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed an executive order Tuesday closing state government offices and banning tractor-trailer travel on all highways and state highways starting at midnight. McKee said he issued the tractor-trailer ban in coordination with Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.

Area airports have asked travelers to check with their airlines in case of cancellations or delays.

Power companies said they were preparing to respond to possible outages that could occur due to trees and branches falling on power lines.

“Hazardous conditions can also make travel difficult for our teams, which is why we are putting additional personnel and equipment in place across the state to ensure we are ready to respond as quickly as possible,” said Steve Sullivan, president of Eversource’s electrical operations in Connecticut.

At a news conference, New York City officials said that despite snow forecasts, they had no plans to relocate people from several large heated tent shelter complexes built for thousands of homeless migrants.

In the South, flood watches covered much of Alabama and parts of central Georgia on Monday. Up to 5 inches of rain was expected in parts of Georgia and Alabama, the National Weather Service warned.

Associated Press writers Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Jeff Martin in Atlanta; Mike Balsamo in Stony Brook, New York; Bruce Shipkowski in Toms River, New Jersey; and Ron Todt in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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