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Powerful nor’easter leaves 16 dead across the US Northeast


A major cleanup is underway after a powerful, late-season winter storm dumped heavy snow to much of the Northeast this week. Although anticipated snowfall in several major cities fell short of estimates, much of the region was left paralyzed. As of Wednesday, March 15, 2017, the storm is blamed for at least 16 deaths.

The storm, named Stella by The Weather Channel (TWC), dumped between 30 and 106 cm (1 and 3.5 feet) of snow in places. More than 30 cm (1 foot) was measured in Portland, Maine, about 56 cm (22 inches) in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and as much as 104 cm (41 inches) in Bridgewater and 106.6 cm (42 inches) in West Winfield, New York.

Stella grounded more than 6 000 flights, knocked out power to nearly 500 000 customers and by the time it reached Massachusetts, turned into a hurricane-force blizzard. In Wellfleet, Massachusetts, wind gusts of 127 km/h (79 mph) were recorded.

According to The Weather Channel, at least 16 deaths were attributed to the storm, as of March 15:

  • A 10-year-old boy died in Pendleton, New York, Wednesday after he became trapped in a pile of snow against a building. The child was reportedly digging a tunnel into the pile when it collapsed on him.
  • Three people died in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III told the Republican Herald. The deaths include two men in Ringtown and an 83-year-old woman in Wayne Township. All three died of apparent heart attacks while shoveling snow.
  • A 23-year-old man was killed Wednesday in a crash on the ice- and snow-covered Interstate 78 in Upper Bern Township, Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press. 
  • A 47-year-old man died of a heart attack Tuesday while shoveling snow at his parents' home on Staten Island, reports WABC.
  • A man died of a heart attack Tuesday after removing snow at his home in the Town of Newburgh, NY, police confirmed.
  • A 16-year-old was killed in New Hampshire Tuesday morning after crashing on a snowy roadway. According to AP, she was the daughter of a police department dispatcher.
  • In Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a Department of Public Works employee died Tuesday after the truck he was driving was struck by a plow train.
  • In East Hartford, Connecticut, an elderly man died after being struck by a snowplow Tuesday afternoon, police said.
  • In Canada, a driver of a tractor-trailer died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle pileup Tuesday in southern Ontario. 
  • The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner told CBS 58 that a 68-year-old man collapsed and died while shoveling snow in South Milwaukee on Monday.
  • A 76-year-old man on Milwaukee's north side collapsed and died Monday while removing snow.
  • A 78-year-old man died on the North side of Milwaukee, also after shoveling.
  • A 64-year-old man collapsed on Park Avenue in South Milwaukee and died.
  • Another Southside Milwaukee man died after snow blowing. He was 76.

On Wednesday, the rare mid-March nor'easter was tapering off over upstate New York and northern New England, the National Weather Service said. Airline operations had returned mostly to normal, despite residual cancellations still affecting the major US carriers. 

Stella was the biggest storm of the season for the region in an unusually mild winter and below-normal snowfall.

The cold it brought took a toll on Washington D.C.'s famed cherry trees, many of which had reached their bloom cycle's "puffy white" stage when they were damaged by temperatures of -2.8 °C (27 °F) or below, the National Park Service said, as reported by Reuters.

Freezing temperatures will continue across a large portion of the central and eastern US. Farmers are preparing for potentially costly and long duration deep freeze.

Featured image: Winter Storm Stella slams US Northeast – March 2017. Credit: Live Storms Media

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