Nightly News   |  February 08, 2013

Storm yields mounting mess across Northeast

As traffic snarled and officials issued warnings for residents to stay home, the coastal areas prepared for a major storm surge. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> but first, what could be a 30-inch snow event here on the east coast . our team is out in it, and in place tonight, we want to begin with nbc's ron mott. he's in providence, rhode island . ron , good evening.

>> reporter: hey, brian, good evening to you. long before the teeth of this storm fully clamps down on new england later tonight, its bite was being felt and the discomfort, well, it spread all over. a 19-vehicle pileup this morning in southern maine was among the earliest indications that today was going to be trouble. luckily, only minor injuries.

>> what you see there, is a tractor-trailer on i-84 that has flipped on its side.

>> traffic got topsy-turvey in connecticut, too. and signs of things getting worse before getting better were just about everywhere throughout the storm zone, as power trucks await the calls of duty from as far away as ohio.

>> i'm asking the general public to make decisions that are wise.

>> reporter: officials again repeated warnings for people to stay home and out of the mounting mess.

>> i guess mother nature is making up for last year.

>> reporter: yielding to fleets of snowplows, making room for emergencies. in rhode island , a slow start for accumulations quickened by afternoon. massachusetts and connecticut governors each order roadways clear at 4:00, a ban on traffic. for those still needing to travel, rail service ground to a halt, triggering a midday evening rush at new york's penn station . airports, including laguardia, were at all but a standstill.

>> i'm from minnesota. i know snow. but just don't want to be stuck here for a few days.

>> reporter: the exodus turned hustle and bustle in providence and boston into what looked like movie sets, minus the action.

>> this is coming right off the ocean here. and this is what has emergency management officials so concerned.

>> reporter: but along the coast, that's exactly what's expected later. a major storm surge taking heavy amounts of snow for a bumpy, wild, overnight ride. and ahead of what could be an extended hibernation for many this weekend, last-minute shopping runs, especially to fortify the fridge.

>> we're getting enough supplies so we can make a hot pot of chicken soup for the weekend.

>> reporter: two of the biggest sellers today, gasoline and liquor. one liquor store manager said they did five times the business of a normal friday, calling it almost christmas in february, brian.

>> ron mott starting us off in providence, rhode island tonight.