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GroundHog Day Storm Hits Midwest

Monday February 2, 2015    6:45 AM

A vast winter storm that dumped record-shattering snow on the Midwest made for a messy Monday morning in New York and Boston, crippling airports and hindering the recovery from last week's blizzard.

Tens of millions of Americans were in the path of the storm, which delivered snow in New England before dawn even as it continued to pummel the Midwest and Ohio. Behind it was a blast of arctic air, raising the threat of ice, more slick travel and downed power lines.

Many snow-wearied areas of the Northeast and New England were getting their third hit of snow in little over a week. It seemed appropriate on Groundhog Day — and, sure enough, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow in Pennsylvania, signaling six more weeks of winter.

"The morning commute is going to be disastrous," Weather Channel lead forecaster Kevin Roth said. "Boston will have a bad evening commute as well, but New York City should be done by the evening."

More than 2,400 flights were already canceled Monday, according to Flightaware, including more than half of what was supposed to take off and land at Newark in New Jersey. Chicago O'Hare, Boston Logan and New York LaGuardia were also among the worst affected.

O'Hare reported 19.3 inches of snow from the storm, making it the fifth-heaviest on record there. Detroit reported 16.7 inches, the third-highest on record and the most since 1974. Detroit and Milwaukee both set single-day snowfall records on Sunday.

Two people were killed in storm-related car crashes in Nebraska, the state patrol said.

On Monday, school was canceled in Chicago and Boston, and snow emergencies were declared for much of New England, NECN reported.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy ordered all non-essential state employees to report to work at 10 a.m. Monday in an effort to avoid the brunt of the storm, NBC Connecticut reported.

New York is expecting 3 to 5 inches of snow by the end of Monday, while Boston should see 8 to 12, Roth said — but that was harder to predict.

"It's a bit like the issue we had last week with New York City being right on the fence about how much snowfall they will get as opposed to just rain," Roth said. "Only this time the city on the fence is Boston."

In Chicago, more than 350 city vehicles were out trying to clear main roads, officials said, including more than 150 pieces of heavy equipment "that will focus on clearing streets and removing snow piles resulting from plowing, and addressing snow around vital public safety sites like hospitals, police and fire stations, and schools."

The band of snow will be followed by dry but colder temperatures.

"In New York City, commuters from the north are likely to be traveling through snow but coming up from New Jersey it will probably be in the rain," Roth said.

Photo: Pedestrian and motorists navigate a snow-covered street in Chicago on Sunday.
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