March 8 (UPI) — A fierce winter storm pummeled the Northeast Thursday, dumping more than 3 feet of snow in isolated areas and derailing a commuter train in Massachusetts.
A combination of wind gusts and heavy snow downed trees and power lines. Approximately 500,000 people were without power late Thursday night after nearly 5 inches fell in New York City and parts of eastern Pennsylvania received more than 10 inches.
Southern Vermont saw an accumulation of more than 30 inches and forecasters predicted heaviest totals would be in eastern and northern Maine with a rate of 1inch to 2 inches per hour.
The storm was expected to intensify as it moved northeast on Thursday, forecasters said.
“A strong nor’easter impacting New England will lift up across the Gulf of Maine today and then gradually weaken tonight and Friday as the center of low pressure then moves inland,” the National Weather Service said in a Thursday morning forecast. “Additional heavy snow is expected across interior portions of the Northeast, and especially northern New England with additional snowfall amounts of 12 to 18 inches expected.”
It’s the second nor’easter to hit the region in less than a week. Last week, the same region was hit by a winter storm that killed seven people and cut power to more than 2 million homes and businesses.
The nor’easter that arrived Wednesday delivered a few inches of snow to parts of Delaware and Maryland, and dumped 26 inches in Sloatsburg, N.Y., within a 24-hour period. A record 6 inches of snow was recorded at Philadelphia International Airport.
Airlines canceled more than 1,100 flights and more than 10,000 were delayed as of early afternoon Thursday, FlightAware reported. The website’s Misery Map indicated the majority of air travel problems were in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and New Jersey. Amtrak suspended service between New York City and Boston until 10 a.m. Thursday.
A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter train derailed Thursday morning, possibly after hitting a downed tree branch in Wilmington. All passengers evacuated, none with injuries.
An MBTA spokesperson told WPRI-TV in Providence, R.I., that about 30 trees fell on the tracks during Wednesday’s storm.
Rain and some coastal flooding was also reported in pockets of the Northeast.
Although the water is starting to recede, We ask that you please do not drive through flood waters. Not only is it dangerous, but you will most likely damage your vehicle. pic.twitter.com/rqX0ulFrJV- Sea Isle City Police (@SeaIslePD) March 7, 2018
The storm also resulted in one death in Suffern, N.Y., where an 88-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree. Police said rescue efforts were difficult because of live power wires.
Icy conditions left many states with treacherous roads, including New Jersey, where state police responded to more than 50 multiple-vehicle crashes because of the ice.
Rescuers on snowmobiles attended to stranded drivers on New Jersey Route 280 and Route 78, some of whom had been trapped for hours.
Thunder and lightning during the snowstorm, known as thundersnow, was reported across the region. In New Jersey, a teacher struck by lightning outside of a middle school was listed in stable condition, according to police.
Carbon monoxide poisoning led to 10 people being hospitalized in White Plains, New York, after a generator was powered inside a home.