A powerful winter storm brought high winds, heavy snow and icy floodwaters to the Northeast on Thursday, with bitterly cold temperatures expected for the coming days.
Major flooding was reported in Massachusetts, where the highest tide in almost 40 years turned some Boston streets into rivers of icy slush up to three feet deep. The National Weather Service said the flooding could be the worst to hit the city since 1978.
“Stay away from the coastline,” the NWS in Boston tweeted Thursday.
Drivers were warned to keep off the streets in Boston, and emergency workers — including the Massachusetts National Guard — rescued a number of drivers trapped by rising waters. At least one intrepid person took to their kayak to get around their flooded neighborhood.
People living in Winthrop are leaving their homes by kayak tonight.
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) January 4, 2018
— ABC News (@ABC) January 4, 2018
The storm caused more than 4,000 flights to be canceled, according to FlightAware.com, including most flights to and from the New York area, which was expecting up to 12 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 45 mph. Hundreds more flights have already been canceled for Friday.
On Thursday, the closure of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport forced a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, the largest passenger plane in the world, to land instead at tiny Stewart International Airport, about 80 miles upstate. While the airport’s runway was big enough to accommodate it, its gates were not, and passengers had to wait about three hours on the tarmac until stairs could be brought in to deboard passengers.
Temperatures across the Northeast are expected to dip into the single digits in the coming days, even falling below zero in some areas.
School districts from Florida to Massachusetts canceled classes, many government offices shut and a number of major roads were closed due to dangerous conditions. At least 16 people have died due to the severe weather, officials said.
This is the best thing you’ll see all day. 😍🐕
This Dog figures out how to carry his sled up the hill in order to sled for hours & hours & hours. #snow #sledding #dogs #blizzard2018 #cyclonebomb #philly #dog pic.twitter.com/7qhZ3Km9jw
— Chris Strider (@stridinstrider) January 4, 2018
The National Weather Service predicted record low temperatures for 28 major cities across New England, eastern New York and the mid-Atlantic states by Sunday, the Associated Press reported.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Thursday in the southeastern part of the state, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the wind chill could make temperatures feel like -20 on Friday.
— NWS (@NWS) January 4, 2018
The storm affected the entire East Coast, with snow falling Thursday in Virginia and North Carolina, and Florida temperatures so low that iguanas were freezing and falling out of trees. On Wednesday, Georgia and South Carolina were hit with the heaviest snowfall in almost 30 years.