- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003

From combined dispatches

BOSTON — People across the Northeast were digging out yesterday from the region’s first major winter storm, which dumped more than a foot of snow, closed airports and left thousands without power.

The three-day storm rolled up the eastern coast two weeks before winter’s official start, setting records in some areas as it packed high winds, heavy surf and steady snowfall of up to an inch an hour.

It left roads and sidewalks ice slicked, stranded hundreds of travelers and kept thousands of Christmas shoppers at home. At least 10 deaths were linked to the storm around the Northeast.

Logan International Airport in Boston, New England’s busiest, was shut down late Saturday, and only one runway was reopened yesterday. Amtrak reported 2-hour delays on its heavily traveled Northeast corridor line and warned snowmobilers to stay clear of the tracks.

About 20,000 homes had no power in eastern Massachusetts, state officials said. Officials also warned of coastal flooding.

Nearly 3 feet of snow fell in western Maine, and up to 2 feet fell in eastern New York’s Rensselaer County. As much as 20 inches fell in Connecticut; Clarksburg, Pa., measured 15 inches; and up to 19 inches fell on New York’s Long Island.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Dellicarpini said the storm’s center was about 80 miles northeast of Cape Cod by midday as it moved slowly out to sea, giving a parting slap to the coast with gusting wind that drove heavy surf onto the shore.

“It’s just taking its time,” he said.

Jim Casey was out clearing his sidewalk yesterday in Nahant, 15 miles north of Boston, with his 2-year-old daughter Anya, who cradled a child-sized shovel in her arms.

“This is very heavy snow, but it’s great,” Mr. Casey, 35, said. “We went down to the beach and took a Christmas picture in front of the waves.”

Skiers and the tourism industry also celebrated the snowstorm as an unexpected pre-holiday present.

“People were up at 7 a.m. ready to hit the mountains,” said Nancy Stowell White, owner of the Sudbury Inn in Bethel, Maine. “We’ve got 28 inches of fresh snow, and it is still coming down. The phones are just going to ring and ring with reservations.”

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