PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Spring kicked off with a wallop of wintry weather along the East Coast as the fourth nor’easter in three weeks dumped more than a foot of snow in some places Wednesday.
The first full day of the season included scenes of snow falling on blooming daffodils in suburban Philadelphia, New Yorkers twisting to fix blown-out umbrellas, tractor-trailers stuck on snowy highways and kids making their first snowman of spring.
The storm left thousands of residents in the dark on Wednesday night, with the majority in South Jersey.
AC Electric says heavy, wet snow, ice, and high winds have toppled trees and brought down tree limbs, downing utility poles, power lines and damaged electric equipment, causing electric service interruptions for customers. The majority of damage is centered in Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
PECO only reported a few hundred outages related to the storm.
At the Jersey Shore, flooding was also an issue.
Many of the shore towns, including Avalon, were prepping for moderate coastal flooding late Wednesday night.
Airlines canceled more than 4,000 flights, tens of thousands of customers lost power from West Virginia northward, and school districts throughout the Northeast called off classes ahead of the storm. At least two traffic deaths were reported in New Jersey and on New York’s Long Island.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Wednesday that a bus and vehicle collided on Interstate 78 in Hunterdon County, resulting in the death of one person. He didn’t give other details.
Up to 8 inches of snow had fallen in some Philadelphia suburbs by the evening, and more than a foot near Allentown, Pennsylvania. New York had at least 5 inches and braced for a total of 6 to 12. Forecasters said Boston could get 6 inches as the storm moved into New England.
“Winter will not relent,” said Pancho Ortega, who was clearing the sidewalk outside his soon-to-open restaurant in Philadelphia. “I don’t like the shoveling part. I’m ready for it to kind of go away.”
Roberto Sims expressed frustration with how quickly his just-cleared Philadelphia sidewalks became snow-covered once again.
“I give up and now the corner store doesn’t have any salt left,” he said. “I’ll just have to take my chances and hope for someone else on the block to do it later.”
The storm was just the latest to come off the assembly line in the Northeast since March 2. Many people’s tolerance for wintry weather was already worn thin, after repeated power outages and lots of white-knuckle driving.
“I didn’t think I’d still need to keep storm stuff in my car in late March, but what are you going to do?” Wilson Collins, of Toms River, New Jersey, said as he checked his car trunk to make sure he had a shovel, a blanket and other emergency items. “I just hope this is finally it.”
Transportation officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are preparing to resume normal service on Thursday. Travelers are urged to leave early and check the status of their commute online before heading out.
Governor Murphy says all state offices in New Jersey will be open on Thursday. All employees should arrive at their regularly scheduled reporting time.
MARCH SNOWSTORM: Northeast Gets Clobbered With Fourth Snowstorm | Travel Alerts | Speed Limits Reduced | Commercial Travel Ban | Photos | Power Outages | School Closings | Philly Snow Emergency | Latest Forecast | Radar | Emergency Numbers | Community Cancellations |