Thousands of flights cancelled because of winter storm

A man hunches in strong winds while walking his dog during a snowstorm, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Hoboken, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

NEW YORK (AP) – The Latest on a strong winter storm expected in the Northeast (all times local):

11 a.m. – Broadway producers in New York City have decided to keep theaters open Tuesday night for the hardy folks willing to brave snow and sleet from a late-season storm hitting the Northeast.

More than two dozen shows will play as scheduled, including “Hamilton,” ”Dear Evan Hansen” and “Waitress.”

Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League , says that for visitors who can’t get home, it’s a great time to see a show.

Tuesday’s storm was bringing less snow than forecast to New York City, but had caused more than 5,000 flight cancellations, and was hitting areas of upstate New York and elsewhere hard.

The last time Broadway was shuttered was in January 2016, when New York was hit with a one-day record of 26.6 inches of snow.

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10:30 a.m. – Parts of Atlantic City and other towns in southern New Jersey are dealing with tidal flooding from the nor’easter.

A homeowner posted video on Twitter of water streaming down the block, and one major roadway was closed because of the flooding.

The tide reached 7.8 feet in Atlantic City on Tuesday morning, just short of the 8-foot threshold that can lead to major flooding.

More than 35,000 customers are without power in New Jersey because of the storm. More than 100,000 customers in other states stretching down to Virginia also are without electricity.

Southern New Jersey did not get much snow, but a blizzard warning is in effect in the northwest part of the state.

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10:05 a.m. – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says it’s a good day to make brownies or read a book, and to stay off the roads.

The winter storm hitting the Northeast is forecast to dump as much as 2 feet of snow on parts of Connecticut on Tuesday, with possibly more in higher elevations.

Malloy says most people seem to be following a travel ban he imposed in the state. All flights to and from Bradley International Airport north of Hartford have been canceled, and transit bus service has been suspended statewide.

State police and the National Guard were ready to help stranded motorists, and utility companies were prepared to respond to power outages.

More than 120,000 customers had lost power from Virginia to New Jersey.

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9:45 a.m. – New York City is expected to get less snow than forecast in a late-winter storm that has slammed other parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Snow changed over to pelting sleet in the city early Tuesday, and the National Weather Service says to expect 4 to 6 inches of snow, after earlier forecasts of 18 inches or more.

Elsewhere, forecasters were still expecting lots of snow. Around 100,000 customers had lost power from Virginia to New Jersey, and more than 5,000 flights were canceled.

In Massachusetts, officials warned Tuesday morning that the storm was just getting started. In the western part of the state, the National Weather Service forecast as much as 2 ½ feet of snow.

Maryland State Police said troopers responded to 101 crashes, none serious.

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8:45 a.m. – Nearly 100,000 customers are without power in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, as a late-winter storm brings a mix of snow and sleet with strong winds.

Dominion Power reports more than 50,000 customers in the dark in Virginia on Tuesday morning, with more than 40,000 of those outages in the Richmond area.

Maryland officials report about 30,000 outages. Thousands more were reported in Delaware, New Jersey and around Philadelphia.

Blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

The storm is expected to dump 12 to 18 inches of snow along a large swath of the region. Parts of New England could see snow totals of 18 inches to 2 ½ feet.

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8:15 a.m. – U.S. airlines have scrapped about 5,400 flights Tuesday as a late-winter storm dumps snow on some of the nation’s busiest airports.

Southwest Airlines, which carries more domestic passengers than any other airline, doesn’t expect to operate any flights Tuesday at 14 airports stretching from Washington to Portland, Maine. Southwest cancelled about 900 flights, while American Airlines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines each cancelled more than 500.

Tracking service FlightAware.com says Tuesday’s cancellations bring the total for the week to around 7,740 flights. An additional 650 flights have been cancelled for Wednesday, a number that FlightAware expects to rise as the airlines scramble to resume operations.

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7:30 a.m. – A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is delaying school and work in Washington.

Officials are urging people to stay off the roads Tuesday while crews clear them. While many surrounding counties called off classes, District of Columbia Public Schools are opening two hours late. Federal workers are reporting three hours late and city government offices are opening two hours late.

President Donald Trump tweeted a photo of his Monday evening meeting with Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld to discuss storm preparations. In a statement, Bowser expressed pride in the agencies and employees working to keep residents safe.

Metrorail is running on a Saturday schedule. Metrobus started the day on a “severe” snow service plan, but it’s now moving to a “moderate” plan.

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7:15 a.m. – Attorney generals in New York and Pennsylvania have issued a warning about price-gouging during the snowstorm.

Eric Schneiderman in New York says consumers should contact his office about “excessive increases” in the price of goods and services. Examples include food, water, gas, generators, hotels and transportation.

The price-gouging law also could apply to snow removal and equipment, salt and contractor services for storm-related damage.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro also alerted consumers and businesses about potential scams, urging people to report any “suspicious activity” about home repairs, snow plowing, government assistance programs and fraudulent disaster-related fundraising to his office’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

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7 a.m. – Hundreds of school districts from Buffalo to New York City have cancelled classes and authorities are advising people to stay off the roads as a nor’easter starts to pummel the Northeast.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency Tuesday for all of New York’s 62 counties, including New York City’s five boroughs. The Democrat also directed non-essential state employees to stay home from work.

The National Weather Service says the storm will drop more than a foot of snow across much of the upstate region, with some areas getting up to 18 inches and higher elevations in the lower Hudson Valley expected to get 2 feet or more.

Blizzard warnings have been issued for much of the region south of Albany, where high winds could produce whiteout conditions

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6:30 a.m. – The National Weather Service says the dividing line between snow and a wintry mix from a nor’easter pushing through the southern New Jersey-Pennsylvania region has moved farther inland, cutting down the anticipated snow accumulation, but increasing the chance of icing.

NWS Meteorologist Sarah Johnson, in Mount Holly, New Jersey, says the dividing line between snow and a mix of snow, sleet and rain has pushed west, from the Jersey coast into Philadelphia. She says that lowers anticipated snow totals, but increases the threat of icing from sleet and freezing rain along the Interstate 95 corridor.

While the snow totals might be lower, Johnson warns that New Jersey shore areas can still expect strong winds, with gusts between 50 and 55 mph. The I-95 corridor could get wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

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6 a.m. – Rain, sleet and snow are sweeping across New Jersey as a late-winter storm slows the morning commute.

State government offices are closed Tuesday and non-essential employees were told to stay home after Republican Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency. Many schools are closed.

Plows are on the highways and the speed limit is restricted to 45 mph on the Garden State Parkway between Cape May and Brick Township.

NJ Transit has suspended bus service and all trains, except for the Atlantic City Rail Line, are operating on a weekend schedule.

A blizzard warning is in effect, basically north of Interstate 195. Forecasters say 18 to 24 inches of snow are possible. A winter storm warning covers other portions of the state, save for coastal south Jersey.

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4 a.m. – A late-season snowstorm has prompted the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to allow a 3-hour delayed arrival for non-emergency employees at federal offices in and around the nation’s capital.

OPM also announced early Tuesday that non-emergency federal employees also have the option to take unscheduled leave or to conduct unscheduled telework.

For those non-emergency workers headed to offices, the agency told them on its website that they “should plan to arrive for work no more than three hours later than they would be expected to arrive.”

The agency added that emergency federal employees in the Washington, D.C., area are expected to report on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies. Emergency and telework-ready employees should follow their agency’s policies, the office added.

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2:35 a.m. – A winter storm expected to dump several inches of snow on Delaware made an impact even before it arrived: Delaware lawmakers decided to scrap plans to reconvene a key budget committee hearing Tuesday after a weekslong break.

In Newark, Delaware, authorities declared a snow emergency effective early Tuesday, ordering residents and businesses on snow emergency routes to remove all vehicles from the street to avoid being towed. The city also announced a two-hour delayed opening for city offices.

Forecasters expect between 8 and 12 inches of snow in some areas of Delaware, while areas near the Atlantic seaboard faced a threat of coastal flooding.

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2 a.m. – The snow threat in the Northeast is causing college basketball teams to alter their travel plans.

Teams chasing a college basketball title are contending with an unexpected wrinkle that’s making last-minute travel plans difficult – a fierce storm bearing down on the Northeast that could dump up to two feet of snow in some places.

“We are closely tracking the weather and working with our travel partners and teams in the tournament to ensure the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials and fans,” the NCAA said in a statement.

Villanova, top overall seed in the men’s NCAA Tournament, left Philadelphia on Monday afternoon for Buffalo, New York, to get ahead of the storm.

There is less of a chance that the women’s tournament would be affected. UConn is the only Northeast team hosting and they play Saturday, giving teams more time to arrive in Connecticut.

U.S. airlines canceled thousands of flights ahead of the storm. Teams in the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournaments have chartered flights so any backlog on commercial planes shouldn’t be a problem.

 

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