Gusts of wind and falling temperatures have plunged the east coast into a deep freeze as people dig out after a powerful north easter that has dumped snowdrifts, flooded coastlines and knocked out currents to tens of thousands.
Dangerous chills have dropped to below zero in many places in the region Sunday after the storm dumped snow from Virginia to Maine. Philadelphia and New York had plenty of snow, but Massachusetts carried most of the storm, with the city of Sharon receiving more than 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snow before the storm moved out.
The wind continued to rage as over 100,000 lost power, mostly in Massachusetts, hampering crews’ ability to work on overhead lines. No other states reported widespread power outages.
Gusts as high as 83 mph (134 km / h) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It scoured the ground just a few places and stacked the snow in huge drifts elsewhere. Coastal towns flooded, with winds and waves hitting North Weymouth, south of Boston, and flooding streets with a slurry of cold water, according to video posted on social media. Other videos showed an underwater street in Nantucket and waves crashing against the windows of a building in Plymouth.
Forecasters kept a close eye on new snowfall records, especially in Boston. The Boston area’s modern snowfall record for a winter storm is 27.6 inches (70 centimeters), set in 2003.
People are protecting themselves from wind and snow under white conditions as the winter storm Kenan crashes on January 29, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Scott Eisen | Getty Images
The city broke its record for largest single-day snowfall Saturday by 23.6 inches (60 centimeters), the National Weather Service said.
Boston resident Jesse Ledin owns a startup of a rental business. He was out for a walk with his dog in the storm, wearing ski goggles on Saturday while gently navigating through huge snow drifts and painful gusts of wind.
“It’s pretty intense with the wind rising up to 70 miles (112 kilometers) per hour. As for the depth, it’s pretty deep with the wind and the snow drifts, but it’s pretty ugly out there and I certainly would not be. “So it’s nice to be able to walk through these huge snow drifts and in pretty tough conditions,” Ledin said.
Climate change, especially the warming sea, has likely affected the strength of the storm, atmospheric scientists said.
Much warmer seawater “certainly plays a role in strengthening the storm system and increasing humidity available to the storm,” said University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado. “But that’s not the only thing.”
The storm had two rescue options: dry snow that is less capable of cracking trees and tearing down power lines, and its timing on a weekend when schools were closed and few people commuted.
Parts of 10 states were under blizzard warnings at one time: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, along with much of the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
A woman shovels her car out of the snow during a major snowstorm on January 29, 2022 in Stony Brook, New York.
Andrew Theodorakis | Getty Images
The National Weather Service considers a storm to be a blizzard if it has snowfall or blowing snow, as well as winds of at least 35 mph (56 km / h) that reduce visibility to a quarter mile or less for at least three hours. In many areas, Saturday’s storm met those criteria.
Rhode Island, all of which were under a blizzard warning, banned all non-emergency driving on the road.
Hardy New Englanders took the storm by storm.
Dave McGillivray, race director of the Boston Marathon, jokingly invited the public to his suburban home in Boston on Saturday for a free snow shovel clinic.
“I will provide the driveway and several footbridges to ensure your training is performed in the most lifelike situation,” he said.
Washington and Baltimore got some snow, but were largely spared. The worst northern Easter is expected to blow Sunday morning into Canada, where several provinces were under warning.