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Storm slows commuters, air travelers in Northeast

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CARA RUBINSKY
December 14, 2007

David Rose expects to be one of the few beneficiaries of the snowstorm that blasted the Northeast, clogging many of the nation’s most traveled roads with fender-benders.


Rose owns an auto body and repair shop.


„We’ll have a lot of collision repair, batteries, tires and a lot of things people realize they needed, wipers for the snow,“ said Rose, whose shop is in Columbia, Conn.


The storm, blamed for 36 deaths, didn’t save its worst for the Northeast. In the Midwest, where 1 million customers were blacked out at the storm’s peak, nearly 400,000 homes and business remained without power early Friday in Oklahoma and Missouri.


A blast of heavy snow forecast for Friday was likely to slow utility crews in Oklahoma. Another storm was also expected to hit the Northeast this weekend, with a mix of rain and sleet hitting the coast, and heavy snow falling further inland.


„As the system gets to the Northeast, it’s really going to intensify and deepen and this is going to cause a lot of trouble,“ said Brian Korty, national weather service meteorologist.


Thursday’s snowfall ranged from 2 inches to just over a foot in some places. The heaviest snowfall was along the Connecticut-Massachusetts-Rhode Island state lines and eastward, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bob Thompson. Thirteen inches was reported at Whitman, Mass.


Schools, businesses and government agencies in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut either closed early or didn’t open at all.


There were delays up to three hours for arriving flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where more than 200 flights had been canceled by late afternoon, officials said.


Elsewhere, Boston’s Logan International reported more than 100 flights canceled, as did Bradley International near Hartford.


A 23-year-old woman died Thursday morning when her pickup truck skidded and flipped over on a snowy highway in Waverly, N.Y., 74 miles southwest of Syracuse. Police said Jessica Rose Nash was partially ejected despite wearing a seat belt.


Massachussetts Gov. Deval Patrick ordered state agencies to send home non-emergency employees and encouraged private businesses to do follow suit. Many towns and cities also shut down early.


In Rhode Island, the storm left many Providence school children stuck in buses or at school for hours.


Accidents came at a fast clip in Connecticut.


„There were, by about 4:30 p.m., already 800 calls for service to state police alone. We were going from call to call and crash to crash,“ said state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance.


Stranded vehicles prevented plows from getting through. Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who was among those caught in traffic, asked tractor-trailer drivers to get off highways for at least two hours to give plows room to work.


The storm’s move east was at least a temporary relief for the Midwest, where crews worked 13-hour shifts in some cases to restore power.


Joyce Williams was among Oklahomans who turned to candles for light and gas stove burners for heat as they tried to stay in their darkened homes. But after a day or so of roughing it, Williams, who suffers from a disorder that causes chronic nerve pain, began getting sick.


„I was looking at the news and realized I was probably dealing with carbon monoxide poisoning,“ she said. „Thankfully, I went ahead and took my brother up on his offer to come over to his house.“


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Associated Press writers Sofia Mannos in Washington, D.C., John Christoffersen in New Haven, Conn., Pat Eaton-Robb in Columbia, Conn., Ula Ilnytzky and Jennifer Peltz in New York, William Kates in Syracuse, N.Y., Michael Virtanen in Albany, N.Y., Jim Fitzgerald in Westchester County, N.Y., Justin Juozapavicius in Tulsa, Okla., Mark Jewell in Boston, Daniela Flores in Trenton, N.J., Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., and Andale Gross in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.



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