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Conflict & Tragedy

Blizzard aftermath: fatalities, mass power outage and mountains of snow

The blizzard blasted a frigid path through the Northeast leaving at least four people dead, some 5,000 flights canceled, mountains of snow and many in the dark. At least six states, including New York, have declared states of emergency. Winds of up to 60-75 mph raged through Massachusetts, knocking out power lines for 400,000 people, including a nuclear power plant in Plymouth. They were able to use a back-up generator but 90 percent of residents remain in the dark.

Those killed include a 74-year-old man who was struck by a car in Upstate New York and two men who were also killed in vehicular crashes in Connecticut. The other fatality was an 80-year-old woman who collapsed after shoveling snow in Canada. The death toll may increase as more is learned about the blizzard's aftermath.

CNN is reporting that a total of 650,000 people in the Northeast have lost electricity, including 180,000 on Rhode Island.

A sea of white now stretches from Pennsylvania to Maine. More than 2 feet of snow was dumped on New England and Long Island after the winds died down and the storm receded. Connecticut wasn’t far behind with 20 inches in many areas, while New York City saw about 12 inches.

But the blizzard is not over yet, for though it may leave most of the Northeast, it is expected to hit the Plains and Mountain States.

Meanwhile, the NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said city fared “great” after the blizzard overnight and all the streets are to be cleared of snow by the end of Saturday.

“I think it’s fair to say that we were very lucky,” he told CBS. “The storm certainly brought plenty of snow – about a foot in a lot of areas in New York City – but we certainly avoided the worst of it.”

On Friday, Bloomberg had warned residents to stay indoors and avoid driving. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick [Unlink] had taken it a step further after the travel ban he imposed on drivers kicked in. He threatened to arrest anyone seen driving who wasn’t emergency or official personnel.

The ban pushed residents to swarm gas stations and stores to stock-up on supplies, food and gas. News of a gas shortage was already buzzing around. Residents in NYC had the same fear, for Superstorm Sandy is still vividly imprinted on our minds—high death toll, the extensive damage, loss of homes, record cost, lack of food for storm victims and statewide gas shortage.

I too rushed to stockpile for the storm, only to be greeted by many empty shelves at the grocery stores and long lines at the cashiers and gas pumps--as residents flocked to gas stations to fill up and mega-stores like Costco and BJ's to stock-up. Everything from food, water, shovels, emergency supplies and medicine to candles, flashlights, batteries and generators were flying off those shelves.

To read my earlier reports, click links below and within the article for references.

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13992764-feels-like-deja-vu-as-nyc-prepares-for-monster-blizzard-barreling-down-on-northeast

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/13980087-parts-of-the-northeast-brace-for-hit-from-historic-blizzard