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Winter storms clobber Eastern Seaboard

Ice and snow storms  from Massachusetts to the Carolinas left thousands of people without power on Monday and traffic snarled many places on the Eastern Seaboard.
People make their way through the snow along Newbury Street in Boston on Monday.Lisa Poole / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A storm spread sleet, freezing rain and more than a foot of snow along the Eastern Seaboard, knocking out power Monday to thousands in New England, stranding hundreds of motorists along icy highways in the Carolinas and causing airport delays.

At least two traffic deaths were blamed on the weather in North Carolina.

Fourteen inches of snow had fallen Monday in Virginia and 18 inches fell in eastern Massachusetts as the storm skimmed the coast on a northeasterly track. Up to 20 inches of snow was possible in southeastern Massachusetts, the National Weather Service said. Just over 8 inches fell on the eastern tip of New York’s Long Island.

The snow limited Boston’s Logan International Airport to a single runway until a second was opened late in the morning. That caused “substantial” flight delays, said Logan spokesman Phil Orlandella. Rhode Island got up to 10 inches and T.F. Green Airport in Warwick had flight delays Monday after shutting down late Sunday night so crews could clear runways.

Among the travelers affected were the National Football League’s New England Patriots, who arrived in Boston by bus early Monday after a seven-hour ride from New Jersey, where they defeated the New York Jets 23-7.

“We were all loaded on the plane in Newark and ready to leave and there were some long discussions,” about deteriorating airport conditions in Boston and Providence, said WBZ sportscaster Gil Santos, the team’s radio play-by-play announcer. The players got off their plane and boarded four buses, he said.

The snow was accompanied by stiff wind, and as many as 22,000 customers lost electrical service. Most of them were back on line by late morning, said NStar spokesman John Milton. Scattered outages were reported elsewhere in eastern New England.

The storm’s combination of wind, freezing rain and snow hit parts of the Carolinas on Sunday, snapping tree limbs and power lines. About 2,100 customers were still without electricity Monday in North Carolina, down from a peak of 14,000. More than 16,000 homes and businesses were blacked out Sunday in South Carolina, but that number was down to less than 5,000 Monday morning.

Traffic resumed moving early Monday on Interstate 95 in eastern North Carolina after Sunday’s ice and more than 6 inches of snow slowed cars and trucks to a crawl and made some motorists give up altogether. Hundreds of travelers spent the night in hotel lobbies and shelters.

In eastern Virginia, icy roads and as much as 14 inches of snow had drivers sliding off the roads by the dozen. “We are just inundated with accidents,” state police Sgt. D.S. Carr said.