Weather Ravages Eastern U.S., 9 Die And Snow Tops 2 Feet

A weather nightmare is ringing in the New Year on a frigid and dangerous note as some areas in the northeast United States were buried under two feet of snow or more, and as many as nine deaths across the east and midwest were linked to the massive storm, according to Associated Press reports.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back outdoors, another merciless Arctic blast is sweeping in from Canada, bringing what the National Weather Service describes at “dangerously low temperatures,” bottoming out at 50 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in some areas, with the wind chill factor, USA Today reports this morning.

Boxford, Massachusetts, a small town about 24 miles northwest of Boston, recorded 24.3 inches of snow — just over two feet — while the neighboring town of Topsfield marked snow at 23.5 inches on its official yardstick, according to a story in The Boston Globe.

The city of Boston itself recorded 21 inches, though New York City, about 160 miles to the south, received a relative dusting of between six and 11 inches, CBS News counted.

Boston area schools stayed closed due to weather Friday, as did the state’s government offices. Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick issued a warning for Bay Staters to stay inside if at all possible, as temperatures were predicted to hit “very, very dangerous” lows, according to a report Friday morning.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state saw as much as 18 inches of snowfall in some regions, ordered three major highways in New York temporarily shut down as the National Weather Service “do not travel” warning remained in effect through Friday.

However, the New York State Thruway between Albany and the Bronx, the Long Island Expressway and Interstate 84 between New York’s Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders opened for traffic again Friday morning, Associated Press reported.

In Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois traffic deaths were blamed on roads made hazardous by the weather. In Western New York a 71-year-old woman who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease wandered from her home and froze to death, AP reported.

Those who did make an attempt to travel Thursday night were mostly out of luck. New York’s John F. Kennedy airport closed as well.

Weather proved a sore spot for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose administration was slow to respond to 2010’s “Snowpocalypse,” leaving the city paralyzed and causing a lasting stain on Bloomberg’s legacy.

So far so good, however, for new Mayor Bill de Blasio — who was among Bloomberg’s harshest critics in 2010. In just the third day of his new job he appeared prepared to handle the weather problems, with snowplows and salting trucks out and running. De Blasio himself shoveled snow in front of his Brooklyn home, an activity in which Bloomberg was never seen partaking.

Never saw this on E. 79th folks,” tweeted a local TV reporter, in a snide reference to billionaire Bloomberg’s posh Upper East Side townhouse residence.

De Blasio pointed New Yorkers to the web site to track how the city was handling severe winter weather this time around.