10:52am

Wed January 12, 2011
Around the Nation

Another Winter Storm Hammers Northeast

The Northeast was getting hammered Wednesday by its second major snowstorm of the season, snarling traffic and forcing delays and cancellations at airports and causing a sense of deja vu for residents up and down the Eastern seaboard.

The storm was expected to dump as much as 20 inches on parts of Long Island by Wednesday afternoon. It comes less than three weeks after a Dec. 26 system  paralyzed airports and ground transportation for days in the region.

Wednesday morning, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey reported 675 canceled flights at LaGuardia Airport. Kennedy Airport had 300 cancellations and Newark Liberty 440.

Every flight in and out of Boston's Logan Airport was delayed. Philadelphia's airport reported about 240 canceled outbound flights and 100 canceled arrivals.

Plows and salt spreaders were hitting the streets after more than a foot of snow fell in some areas overnight. New York City schools were open, but classes were canceled elsewhere, including Philadelphia, Boston and most of Connecticut.

New York officials, heavily criticized for their handling of snow removal during the last storm, scrambled to get roads ready for the morning commute.

"We didn't do the job that New Yorkers rightly expect of us in the last storm, and we intend to make sure that that does not happen again," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

But the mayor predicted it would be "a difficult, difficult rush hour."

"The storm is predicted to be at its heaviest just a few hours before rush hour, and there's no way that our city's plows can get to all 6,000 streets in one or two hours," he said.

The storm pummeled the East after the same system dumped heavy snow and ice in the South in recent days, causing road crews lacking winter equipment, salt and sand to struggle to clear them. Florida was the only state without at least a dusting of snow on the ground -- including Hawaii, where some volcanic peaks are ringed with snow, according to maps provided by the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center.

In Park Slope, Brooklyn, plows were out and all major and side streets were plowed Wednesday morning. A few cars skidded on the slush.

Matt Guinta, who works as a driver for a beer distributor on eastern Long Island, said the company closed down for the day because of heavy snow.

"It's a whiteout, pretty much," he said. "The plows can't keep up."

Artie Perrin, who manages a restaurant in Revere, Mass., got to work in whiteout conditions Wednesday morning.

"I have a four-wheel truck, so I make sure I have that to get here all the time," he said. "You just drive slow -- you do 15 miles per hour, and you get here."

Snow started falling late Tuesday. By early Wednesday, 8.8 inches had accumulated in Central Park, up to a foot fell in some parts of New Jersey and more than a foot was on the ground in western Connecticut.

The flurries stopped early Wednesday in Philadelphia, where as much as 7 inches accumulated, but wet, sticky, wind-blown snow caused near whiteout conditions in parts of Massachusetts, forcing mass school cancellations and delaying every flight in an out of Logan International Airport.

Forecasters expected New York City and its suburbs to get an average of 9 inches.

In New England, the National Weather Service predicted as much as 14 inches in the Boston area, where snow was mixed with thunderstorms, up to 18 in central Massachusetts and perhaps as much as 20 in Berkshire County. There were scattered power outages across New England.

In New Jersey, relatively few problems were reported Wednesday, and plows were out in force. Locals were keeping a close eye on Gov. Chris Christie, who left for a Disney World family vacation in Orlando, Fla., just before the Christmas blizzard struck the Northeast even though his lieutenant governor also was out of state.

Christie, who was heavily criticized for the trip, has said he and the lieutenant governor wouldn't be out of state at the same time again and even joked last week about "shoveling myself" to dig people out of snow if necessary. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.