A winter storm that brought snow and ice to the US East Coast moved off-shore Friday, leaving at least 25 dead and hundreds of thousands without power and causing a large pileup in Pennsylvania that injured 30 people.
Across the US, this is shaping up as one of the snowiest winters. As of early this month, Washington, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, New York and St Louis had gotten roughly two or three times as much snow as they normally receive at this point in the season.
The latest go-round of bad weather came just in time to delay tens of thousands of deliveries of Valentine’s Day flowers, dropping snow, sleet and rain on roads already covered with deep puddles and icy patches.
The snow, sleet and ice that bombarded the Southeast on Wednesday brought its ferocity into the Northeast on Thursday and Friday.
Numerous traffic accidents involving multiple tractor-trailers and dozens of cars completely blocked one side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia on Friday morning and injured 30 people, none seriously. The crashes were reported about five hours after snowing stopped. Speed restrictions enacted during the storm had been lifted, but motorists say the roadway was coated with ice.
By the time it stopped falling, 22.5 inches of snow was reported in one Pennsylvania County. Parts of upstate New York got up to 27 inches. Washington DC received 9 inches of snow, while New York City got nearly 10 inches.
The sloppy mix of snow and face-stinging sleet grounded more than 6,500 flights nationwide on Thursday and about 2,100 more on Friday.
About 1.2 million utility customers lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast, dropping to about 450,000 outages by Friday morning, mostly in South Carolina and Georgia.
The treacherous weather was blamed for more than two dozen deaths, many of them in motor vehicle accidents.