Blizzard paralyses north-east US and Canada

9 Feb

_65797143_65796884A major snowstorm has brought swathes of the north-eastern US and eastern Canada to a standstill, leaving about half a million homes without power. High winds and blizzard conditions have emptied the centre of Boston and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has banned all non-essential traffic. Millions of people across New England have being warned to stay indoors. The region’s airports are closed. Many areas are under two feet (60cm) of snow and more snowfalls are expected. Residents across New England are hard at work clearing their driveways Blizzard warnings are in effect for much of the coastal section of the north-eastern US, from Newark, New Jersey to southern Maine. Forecasters said the storm, which began on Friday, could dump as much as three feet in some places. People have been warned to stock up on food and other supplies as the storm affects 25 million people in the region. More than 600,000 homes and businesses are without power in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Boston’s Financial District was deserted early on Saturday – as were many streets across the region.

Petrol queues

The state-wide driving ban declared in Massachusetts is the first since 1978. A similar ban is in force in Connecticut, where Governor Dannel _65798189_snow_depth_north_america_v4_624Malloy said: “Please stay home once the weather gets bad except in the case of real emergency.” Airlines cancelled more than 5,000 flights – including all those to and from the three major airports in New York City – and the train operator Amtrak has suspended nearly all services north of the city. Canadians on the Atlantic Coast are also bracing for blizzards after heavy snow fell on Ontario. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are under blizzard or storm watches. Ontario has already seen 200 vehicle accidents, the CBC reported. At least three people have been killed. One US man in his 70s also died when he lost control of his vehicle in Poughkeepsie, New York. Fuel shortages were being reported from Connecticut to New York City as motorists queued at petrol stations to fill up vehicles, generators and snow blowers. The National Weather Service had earlier said the combination of two weather systems from the polar and sub-tropical jet streams would produce a “potentially historic” storm.

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