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Storms lash America

By AP | Last updated: Jan 3, 2013 - 2:02:46 PM

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A vehicle abandoned by its driver lays buried in snow along the median of Mauamelle Blvd. in Little Rock, Ark., Dec. 26. A historic Christmas night winter storm dropped upwards of a foot of snow on parts of Arkansas, shutting down workplaces, downing trees and power lines and turning travel treacherous. Photo: AP/Wide World photos
(FinalCall.com) - Winter Storm Freyr dumped up to a foot of snow in parts of Southern New England and Ohio days after the regions were hit by Winter Storm Euclid moving from the nation’s midsection.

The storm ended by Sunday morning Dec. 30 and dry weather was expected for days, although strong winds were forecast.

Meteorologist Frank Nocera of the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., said six to 12 inches of snow fell from the afternoon of Dec. 29 and overnight in Rhode Island, Eastern Connecticut and Eastern Massachusetts.

In Boston and the Cape Cod area rain was mixed with snow. There two to four inches fell.

Many residents lost power after wet snow piled up on power lines.

“Freyr is quickly out to sea, and if it didn’t do that, we’d have a blockbuster event on our hands,” said Dr. Greg Postel, winter storm specialist for The Weather Channel.

About 20 vehicles piled up in a storm-related chain-reaction crash on Interstate 93 in New Hampton, N.H., police said, and five people were injured.

Drivers were warned to be cautious. Officials lowered the speed limit on much of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

In Albany, N.Y., a plane skidded into a snow bank and became stuck, temporarily stranding passengers, but there were no injuries.

Parts of Southern Indiana saw 6-8 inches from the storm, some in areas that had received more than a foot from Winter Storm Euclid earlier in the week.

That blizzard was part of a storm system that dumped more than a foot of snow in some places and has been blamed for at least 17 deaths. It spawned 27 tornadoes across a handful of states, according to a severe weather expert for The Weather Channel.

As the muted winter storm, which covered half the country at one point, plodded through the Northeast, many in Arkansas sought warmth and shelter against the cold prospect of life without electricity into the new year.

A Christmas Day blizzard dumped more than 15 inches of snow on the state, causing widespread damage to power lines and cutting electricity to more than 260,000 customers.

In a typical year, tornadoes bring Arkansas’ worst weather, but the damage is isolated and linemen have a relatively easy time fixing the power grid.

The storm system responsible for the misery roared out of the Rockies early Dec. 25 with blizzard conditions in Southwestern Oklahoma and tornadoes along the Gulf Coast.

After sweeping across Arkansas, it rolled into the Midwest and Northeast before moving on to Canada. Up to 20 inches of snow fell in the Adirondacks of New York, and 7.5 inches fell in Indianapolis, which was its greatest snowfall in four years. Concord, N.H., got 4-6 inches of snow.

Nationwide, at least 17 people died because of the ice, snow and wind. Deaths from wind-toppled trees also were reported in Texas and Louisiana, but car crashes caused most of the fatalities. The storm knocked out power to more than 7,000 homes and businesses in Maryland. In New Jersey, gusts of more than 70 mph were recorded along the coast, and the weather service issued a flood warning for some coastal areas. There were about 800 power outages in Vermont, but only a handful in neighboring New Hampshire.

In Arkansas, utility workers struggling in freezing temperatures restored power to nearly a third of their customers that lost power during the Christmas storm, but that still meant that more than 130,000 homes and businesses were in the dark as a smaller batch of freezing rain and snow raked the state Dec. 28.

(Compiled from combined Associated Press reports.)

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