HUDSON VALLEY – Residents of the Hudson Valley began the back-breaking job of digging out from as much as two feet of snow on Saturday after a winter storm hit the Northeast.
Local utility companies reported few outages as a result of the storm, but more than 500,000 homes and businesses from New York to Boston remained without power late Saturday night. Most of the power outages were reported in Massachusetts, where more than 400,000 people were left in the dark.
By midday Saturday, the National Weather Service reported preliminary snowfall totals of 24.9 inches in Boston, which ranks fifth on the city’s all-time list. Bradley Airport near Hartford, CT, got 22 inches, for the number two spot in the record books there.
Concord, NH, got 24 inches of snow, the second-highest amount on record and a few inches short of the reading from the great Blizzard of 1888.
New York’s Central Park recorded 11 inches - not even enough to make the Top 10 list - and all three major area airports - LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark - were back up and running by late morning after closing the night before.
There were at least five deaths attributed to the snowstorm, including an 11-year-old Boston boy who was overcome by carbon monoxide. The child was sitting in a running car while his father shoveled snow.
On Long Island, where the snow total exceeded two and a half feet, hundreds of drivers spent a cold night stuck on the Long Island Expressway (LIE). Even snowplows weren’t spared, making the LIE look more like a parking lot than a highway.
Throughout the Hudson Valley, sanitation crews worked 12-16 hours to clear major roads and highways. By late Saturday, most secondary and tertiary roads were clear, leaving four-to-five-foot-high drifts, in some cases adding more snow on cars parked on city streets.
Many business owners and homeowners were busy trying to dig out from the snow, while children could be seen enjoying the huge mounds. Many of the younger ones had never seen so much snow and were sledding and making snow forts.
Jason Williams, who was lending his snow shoveling skills to people along Grand Street in Newburgh, NY, said moving the heavy snow was "like lifting cement." He recommended removing the snow as quickly as possible to prevent it from compacting and becoming more difficult to remove. "If left, this will become a big sheet of ice. Then you have another problem to deal with," he remarked.
With more winter weather in the forecast, adults cringe and hope for an early spring, while children hope for another day off from school to play in the snow.