HARTFORD, Conn. — A massive winter storm barreled into the East Coast on Thursday, threatening to dump as much as 18 inches of snow from the Carolinas to Maine and unleashing hurricane-force winds and flooding that closed schools and offices and halted transportation systems. Forecasters expected the storm to be followed immediately by a blast of face-stinging cold air that could break records in more than two dozen cities and bring wind chills as low as minus 40 this weekend.
The massive storm began two days ago in the Gulf of Mexico, first hitting the Florida Panhandle. It has prompted thousands of canceled flights and shuttered schools and businesses. The high winds caused coastal flooding from Massachusetts to Maine, and the rising waters stranded people in homes and cars.
Blizzard warnings and states of emergency were in wide effect, and wind gusts hit more than 70 mph in some places. Eastern Massachusetts and most of Rhode Island braced for snow falling as fast as 3 inches per hour.
After the storm, a wave of bracing cold was forecast to hit much of the Northeast.
The storm dumped snow in Tallahassee, Florida, Wednesday — that city’s first snow in nearly three decades — before slogging up the Atlantic coast and smacking southern cities such as Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, with a rare blast of snow and ice.
Follow along with updates below as the storm works its way up the coast. All times Eastern unless otherwise indicated.
10:55 p.m.: FlightAware’s Misery Map shows tally of flight delays, cancellations
CBS News checks in with the online Misery Map from FlightAware that shows flight delays and cancellations across the country.
As of 10:55 p.m. ET, here are the latest information between 8 p.m. Jan. 4 and 12 a.m. Jan. 5:
- New York: 7 delays // 69 cancellations
- Washington, D.C.: 10 delays // 9 cancellations
- Chicago: 37 delays // 5 cancellations
- Florida: 16 delays / 7 cancellations
- Atlanta: 24 delays // 1 cancellation
- Denver: 19 delays // 1 cancellation
- Los Angeles: 17 delays // 1 cancellation
9:45 p.m.: Latest forecast from CBS News weather producer
David Parkinson, CBS News weather producer, writes that the snow is done in New York and will be wrapping in the Boston area over the next few hours. With the exception of downeast Maine, the heavy snow is all done. The worst of the wind is also done. However, wind gusts will stick around overnight as the bone chilling temperatures move in.
In terms of snow totals, here are the largest in each state/notable cities:
- New Jersey: Brick Township in Ocean County had 18″ (Cape May had 17″)
- New York: Bohemia, Long Island 16.4″ (NYC will wrap just shy of 10″)
- Connecticut: Canton 15″
- Rhode Island: Pawtucket 16″
- Massachusetts: Dedham 19″
- Boston Logan Airport: 13.2″
- New Hampshire: Seabrook 15″
- Maine: Gorham 13.3″
Going forward, the temperature will just keep plunging. The high in Boston on Saturday is in the low single digits. It’s 9 in NYC. The overnight low is around 0 in NYC and -10 in Boston Sunday morning. In terms of wind chills, temperatures won’t be above zero for 48 hours in NYC. In Pittsburgh, it’s closer to three days.
8:10 p.m.: Flights to resume at LaGuardia and JFK
New York’s JFK Airport tweeted Wednesday that flights are scheduled to resume at 7 a.m. ET on Fri., Jan. 5.
The airport urges customers to check with their specific airliner for more details.
Earlier, JFK suspended flights Thursday because of the strong winds and blowing snow.
LaGuardia Airport tweeted Wednesday night that flight suspensions have been lifted.
6:40 p.m.: Storm washes away properties in Maine
Bone-chilling wind gusts of up to 50 mph made it difficult for residents to get around Portland, Maine, by car and foot.
Twenty miles south of Portland, on Ferry Beach, the storm swallowed up foundations, CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan reports. Resident Sean Walker was one of many who watched his childhood memories get washed away.
Emergency management officials are bracing for a very long night.
6:30 p.m.: Snow plows struggling to keep up with storm conditions
Snow fell heavily in downtown Boston, and winds blew so hard that plows couldn’t keep up with the storm, CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reports.
In Brant Rock, high winds sent frigid waters pouring high over the sea wall and into the streets. About 25 miles away, cars were washed away by the rising tide.
Further up the coast, in Scituate, wind and waves turned ice into projectiles. Town manager Jim Boudreau described the weather conditions as “wild.”
And in New York, the storm was so fierce that 1,500 snow plows had trouble keeping the streets and highways clear of snow.
6 p.m.: South Carolina man killed in crash on icy roads
A man driving a pickup truck home from work on an icy South Carolina interstate has slid off the roadway, hit some trees and been killed.
Arther Cumbie Jr. is the state’s first storm-related death from Wednesday’s ice and snow.
Kershaw County coroner David West says Cumbie was driving at or below the speed limit Wednesday afternoon when his truck left Interstate 20. He says witnesses tell investigators Cumbie’s truck started sliding on the ice and snow and he lost control.
West says Cumbie was wearing a seatbelt but died from head injuries.
The massive storm roared into the East Coast on Thursday, dumping as much as 18 inches of snow from the Carolinas to Maine and unleashing hurricane-force winds.
5:23 p.m.: More than 100K left without power
More than 100,000 customers lost power in the winter storm that’s blanketed the East Coast with heavy snow and hurricane-force winds.
In the New England states, Massachusetts was hit with more than 22,000 outages Thursday afternoon. Scattered power outages were reported in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Maine reported 4,400 outages.
About 6,300 customers lost power on Long Island on Thursday afternoon, but crews quickly restored more than 2,000 as of early Thursday evening.
Virginia had a peak of 45,000 outages, with about half restored as of early Thursday afternoon. The Carolinas experienced about 30,000 outages at its peak on Wednesday.
Forecasters expect the storm to be followed immediately by a blast of face-stinging cold air that could break records in more than two dozen cities this weekend.
5:05 p.m.: Several major airports close early due to winter weather
Airlines have now cancelled 4,020 flights nationwide due to the blizzard on the East Coast, CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports.
The storm has shut down several major airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport until 8 p.m., LaGuardia Airport until 6 p.m. and Logan International Airport until 5:30 p.m., according to Van Cleave. Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport both remain open, but are not accepting diversions at this time. Newark Liberty International Airport has one runway open; however, flights have not been able to land due to crosswinds and poor conditions for landing.
In total, there have been 103 diversions from East Coast airports.
Van Cleave reports 614 flights remain cancelled for Friday.
3:59 p.m.: Passenger killed when car on snowy hill hits train
Authorities say a person is dead after the car they were traveling in couldn’t stop at the bottom of a steep, snow-covered hill and slammed into a commuter train on its way to Philadelphia.
Police say the driver of the car was able to escape before the crash Thursday morning in Lower Moreland but the passenger stayed inside as the vehicle crashed through a gate at the railroad crossing. That person was later found by police along the tracks.
A spokeswoman for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority says none of the passengers on board the West Trenton line train were injured. The train was about 20 miles north of downtown Philadelphia.
It happened as the winter storm was blowing snow, icing up roads and causing traffic havoc around the region.
CBS News has confirmed that at least 13 people nationwide have died from the blast of winter weather and accompanying cold temperatures.
3:12 p.m.: Storm causes over 3K flight cancellations
As of Thursday afternoon, over 3,600 flights have been canceled in the U.S., according to tracking website FlightAware.com.
Amid the traveling chaos from the massive snowstorm hitting the East Coast, a number of international flights bound for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, which closed in the morning, were diverted to Washington’s Dulles International Airport, CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave reports. (New York’s other airport, LaGuardia, was also closed.)
In New Jersey, Newark Liberty International Airport was the airport most affected by the storm. More than 930 flights, or 71 percent of the airport’s traffic, were canceled.
For Friday, more than 310 flights in the U.S. have already been canceled.
3:01 p.m.: Boston mayor holding storm press conference
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is holding a press conference on the snowstorm. You can watch it in the player above.
1:55 p.m.: New York governor holding storm press conference
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding a press conference on the snowstorm. You can watch it in the player above.
1:45 p.m.: Flooding hits coastal town outside Boston
Seawater with chunks of ice has flooded an area outside Boston.
Kathryn Burcham, a reporter with WFXT-TV, posted a video to Twitter showing flooding in Winthrop, which is just outside Massachusetts’ capital.
Buoys bobbed on top of the floodwaters, which came up to the wheel wells of a fire truck.
1 p.m.: Storm shelves Panthers-Bruins hockey game
The Boston Bruins home game against the Florida Panthers has been postponed because of the snowstorm battering New England.
The Boston area could get as much as 18 inches of snow as well as high winds that could lead to power outages from the Thursday storm.
The National Hockey League hasn’t announced the date and time of the rescheduled game. Tickets for Thursday’s game will be valid for the makeup game.
The Bruins are in second place in the Atlantic Division after going 16-3-2 in their last 21 games. The Panthers had won five consecutive games before losing Tuesday in Minnesota.
12:12 p.m.: North Carolina reports third snowstorm death
North Carolina authorities say a driver slid off a road in snowy conditions and overturned his vehicle, marking the state’s third fatality attributed to a snowstorm sweeping the region.
State Emergency Management spokesman Keith Acree says the man died in Beaufort County around 2 a.m. Thursday.
The man’s vehicle slid off the road into a ditch and overturned. Acree says the area had a lot of snow, and authorities determined it was a weather-related death.
Acree identified the man as 29-year-old Joshua Wayne Biddle of Washington, North Carolina.
The Highway Patrol had earlier reported that two men died in a weather-related crash in Moore County on Wednesday night.
CBS News has confirmed that at least 13 people nationwide have died from the blast of winter weather and accompanying cold temperatures.
11:38 a.m.: New York mayor holding storm press conference
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to hold a press conference on the snowstorm soon. You can watch it in the player above.
11:19 a.m.: Flights suspended at New York’s JFK Airport
Flights have been temporarily suspended at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the airport said on Twitter.
The airport said it was experiencing whiteout conditions and strong winds.
Travelers were urged to contact their carriers.
10:47 a.m.: North Carolina deaths blamed on storm
Two deaths in North Carolina are being blamed on the East Coast snowstorm.
Authorities say two men died during the winter storm Wednesday night when their pickup truck overturned into a creek.
A spokesman for the state Highway Patrol says the truck came to rest on its top while submerged in the creek in Moore County, which is southwest of the Raleigh-Durham area.
Sgt. Michael Baker identified those killed as the driver, 57-year-old Michael Alexander Wilson, and a passenger, 73-year-old Jerry David Wilson. Both were from Bear Creek.
Both men died at the scene.
CBS News has confirmed that at least 13 people have died from the blast of winter weather and accompanying cold temperatures.
10:35 a.m.: Residents of coastal town urged to evacuate
Blizzard conditions are expected on the coast of New England, and residents are bracing for possible flooding and power outages as a result, CBS Boston reports.
A blizzard warning has been issued from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to the Maine coast through 1 a.m. Friday.
The town of Scituate, Massachusetts, is urging residents along the coastline to voluntarily evacuate. Officials are concerned that the ocean will flip large chunks of ice over seawalls and into homes as the storm intensifies.
Many spent Wednesday boarding up windows, and crews did last-minute checks on the seawalls. The town has raised the height of most of them.
9:25 a.m.: Trooper hangs from helicopter to rescue man from icy river
A Massachusetts State Police trooper hanging out of a helicopter as it skimmed the frigid Merrimack River was able to pluck a man from the water in a last-ditch rescue effort.
A state police spokesman tells the Boston Globe the helicopter was on scene in Lowell Wednesday night to provide illumination via spotlight. But when efforts to reach the man by boat were foiled by ice and rocks, the flight crew decided to attempt a rescue themselves.
9:14 a.m.: Virginia deploys hundreds of workers to clear roads
The Virginia Department of Transportation has more than 1,500 workers working 12-hour shifts with more than 1,400 pieces of equipment in response to the storm, CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca reports from Norfolk.
High winds are a major concern in the state. Bridges are at higher risk of freezing, and the Chesapeake area has over 90 of them. All of them have been sprayed with brine to keep them from becoming sheets of ice.
In Norfolk, the city is under a blizzard warning for only the second time since the 1980s.
All schools, city offices, libraries and courts are closed. Public transit isn’t running.
8:48 a.m.: Snowfall could reach 18 inches in New England
Snow that could pile as high as 18 inches in some spots of New England has begun falling.
A light snow started falling in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire just before dawn Thursday.
Snow is expected to increase after sunrise and peak during the late morning through the afternoon. Rain over Cape Cod and the Islands is likely to change over to snow in the afternoon.
The storm is not just bringing snow but high winds with gusts as high as 75 mph in some spots, which could bring down power lines and cause power outages.
There also is a risk of coastal flooding.
Schools across the region are closed for the day, and governors are urging people to stay off the roads.
7:25 a.m.: Toll on air travel
Airlines canceled 2,944 flights Thursday out of 27,224 scheduled to, from and within the U.S., according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com. Most impacted was Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which has 856 flights canceled (68 percent of those scheduled) and 9 flights delayed more than 15 minutes.
Carriers have already scrapped 154 flights scheduled for Friday in the U.S.
5:27 a.m.: Power outages spreading
Some 77,000 homes and businesses reported losing electricity late Wednesday and early Thursday in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Most were attributed to the storm.
4:03 a.m.: Brrrr: Baby, it’s gonna get cold(er) outside
The lead meteorologist at CBS West Palm Beach, Florida affiliate WPEC-TV, Jeff Berardelli, says the storm will go down as one of the strongest non tropical cyclones ever along the Eastern Seaboard. Barometric pressure is forecast to drop near or below that of Superstorm Sandy. While 12-18-plus inches of snow on Long Island and eastern New England will be impressive, the cold behind the system will be even more impressive. Friday and Saturday morning will see the mercury at or below zero from New York City north, with wind chills of minus-20 degrees near New York City and minus-50 in the mountains of northern New England.
3:45 a.m.: Conditions worsening in Washington, D.C. area
2:30 a.m.: Amtrak train partially derails
Three cars of an Amtrak train heading from Miami to New York with 311 passengers on board derailed as the train tried to slowly back into the Savannah, Georgia station late Wednesday night, Amtrak tells CBS News. All three cars — a baggage car and two sleeper cars — stayed fully upright. There were no reports of injuries.
CBS Savannah affiliate WTOC-TV says frozen switches on the tracks forced the crew to stop the train and put it into reverse.
News footage from the site showed police and other emergency vehicles — their lights flashing — crunching over snowy, ice-shrouded roads near tracks where the cars had derailed. Workers in neon safety vests, their frosty breath rising in the bitter cold air, converged at the scene.
The train was expected to continue north, with some of the sleeping car passengers being transferred to a different train.
12:13 a.m.: Storm passing over southeastern Virginia, northern North Carolina
Snow is tracking across Virginia’s Hampton Roads area and northern North Carolina, reported CBS affiliate WTKR-TV meteorologist Madeline Evans. Portions of the Outer Banks were only spot still seeing a mix of cold rain and some snow, and it will continue to transition into only snow overnight.
Most of the area will see 8 inches to 10 inches of snow accumulation, with some spots possibly reaching a foot of snow, according to Evans.
Snowfall will increase northward into portions of the Mid-Atlantic and northern New England early Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Blizzard conditions are possible over eastern Long Island and portions of coastal New England, and also near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for the shore areas, CBS Baltimore reports.
Wednesday, Jan. 3
10 p.m.: Philadelphia officials announce snow emergency
Philadelphia city officials announced that a snow emergency goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thu., Jan. 4.
Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis says a snow emergency means all parked cars must be moved off snow emergency routes for plowing. Officials urge residents to park as far away from street corners as possible so that plows can easily turn.
For more information, visit this website. Cars left on snow emergency routes will be moved to other parking spots to assist in snow plowing operations. If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW to find it. Do NOT call 911.
9:45 p.m.: Nearly 35,000 people without power in the South
CBS News has confirmed that nearly 35,000 people in the South are without power as a winter storm crosses the region.
A look at websites monitoring outages show that Georgia is hit hardest with at least 17,000 customers affected.
However, many of the outages predate the storm.
8:37 p.m.: American Airlines cancels more than 600 flights Jan. 4
American Airlines announced that more than 300 flights were canceled for Wednesday and more than 640 flights have already been canceled for Thursday.
All depatures are canceled from Boston and Providence’s airports, American Airlines said. There are scattered cancellations from Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York’s airports.
7:50 p.m.: New York City cancels school
New York City is under a winter storm watch from late Wednesday through Thursday evening, CBS New York reports. A blizzard warning has been issued for Long Island’s Suffolk County and some coastal New Jersey counties, but New York City is not affected.
How much snow the city gets depends on the track of the storm. CBS New York forecaster Lonnie Quinn reported the North American Model expects the storm to track closer to the west, bringing 8.8 inches of accumulation.
But the European Model, which tracks the storm 54 miles farther east, anticipates only 2.9 inches of accumulation for New York City.
Wind gusts of 35 mph to 45 mph are also possible.
New York City’s Department of Sanitation issued a snow alert starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, meaning snow equipment will be ready to handle the winter weather.
7:05 p.m.: Deep freeze expected overnight in Florida
There will be a hard freeze overnight for many locations away from the immediate coast, CBS affiliate WJAX reports. Even the beaches will see a light freeze overnight.
Highs will be in the mid to upper 40s Thursday and another hard freeze is expected Friday morning.
In Tallahassee, the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management will be opening as a warming station for people to escape the cold, CBS affiliate WCTV reports.