The winter storm narrows travel and forces schools to make difficult choices

The winter storm narrows travel and forces schools to make difficult choices

BOSTON – A winter storm that had already covered parts of the south in snow moved into the northeast Friday, snarling flights, shattering morning commutes and delivering a dilemma to school districts that had tried to keep children in classes during a wave of coronavirus cases.

Schools in Boston closed, and public schools in Providence, Rhode Island, switched to distance learning, but New York City kept the country’s largest public school system open.

“Children are going to school. We have no more days to waste” after the pandemic’s many closures and distance learning days, said Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat who handled his first major storm after taking office Saturday. He also noted that many children are dependent on meals at school and that some working parents can not stay at home.

In central Pennsylvania, Ericka Weathers, an education professor at Penn State University, struggled to complete a scholarship application while her two children were home from school because of the snow. She started working around noon. 05.15 to try to ensure she would have enough time to finish before the deadline Friday night.

“I’ve been trying to juggle,” she said as her 7-year-old sledded on the hill outside and her 4-year-old refused to go out. “Every five minutes, someone asks me a question.”

By noon on the East Coast, airlines had scrubbed more than 2,400 flights, with the largest number at airports in the Boston and New York City area, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Airlines have struggled with staff shortages caused by an increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant. In the U.S., cancellations were down slightly this week after peaking at more than 3,200 on Monday.

Friday morning, some locations in New England, including Danielson, Connecticut, Norwood, Massachusetts and Burrillville, Rhode Island, had received more than a foot (30 centimeters) late in the morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged people to stay off the roads and take public transportation if possible, but there were reports of crashes around the region.

Plowman Michael D’Andrea got a first-hand look at the clutter on the roads. He saw lots of vehicles spinning out as the thick snow fell.

“The first storm is always a little more dangerous,” said D’Andrea, 34, of Norwood, Massachusetts. “No one has been driving in this weather for such half a year. People have to learn to drive again. And it’s usually not a foot of snow the first. This is almost a blizzard with how fast it fell. 2022 offers a bang, but I suppose we were late. “

A commuter bus ran out of control and blocked lanes of the Massachusetts Turnpike just outside Boston early Friday. No one was injured, but the bus caused a huge traffic jam.

A driver died around 7:30 a.m. when a car drove off Route 140 in Freetown, Massachusetts, state police said.

A tractor-trailer ploy in Greenwich, Connecticut, forced a temporary closure of the southbound Interstate 95, state police said. There were no indications of mass strandings on the great north-south thoroughfare as it happened after snow in Virginia earlier this week left hundreds of motorists left for hours.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency Thursday night, delaying the opening of state offices for unnecessary staff until 6 p.m.

But the snow was over at. 10 in New Jersey, which allowed plows to clear the roads. Preliminary amounts of snowfall showed that 6 inches had fallen in Berlin, by 5 inches in Howell.

The storm also affected coronavirus test sites, many of which have been overwhelmed with long queues and waiting days for days. Some test sites in Rhode Island delayed their openings until later in the day, when the storm was expected to begin to subside. Test sites in Connecticut closed.

From late Thursday to Friday afternoon, 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 inches) of snow was expected in parts of central and southern New Hampshire and southern and southwestern Maine, according to the weather service.

The storm brought record snow to some areas in the south on Thursday.

Nashville saw 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) on Thursday, which broke the city’s previous Jan. 6 record of 4 inches (10 centimeters), which had stood since 1977, the weather service said. Freezing rain and sleet areas around the Tennessee-Alabama state border, said Scott Unger, a meteorologist for the service in Nashville.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear closed state offices Thursday night and later extended the closure to Friday.

The largest snowfall in Kentucky was nearly 10 inches (25 centimeters) in Lexington, according to the weather service.


Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz of New York; Shawn Marsh of Trenton, New Jersey; Dave Collins of Glastonbury, Connecticut; Philip Marcelo of Norwood, Massachusetts; and Bill Kole of Warwick, Rhode Island; and AP Business Writer David Koenig.

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