The Latest: Storm causes rail disruptions, power outages

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on a nor’easter hitting the East Coast (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

The second nor’easter in less than a week has shut down several of the New York City metro area’s commuter rail lines.

Metro-North’s Harlem, Hudson and New Haven lines, which connect the city to its northern suburbs and Connecticut, were suspended Wednesday night due to downed trees. It’s not clear when service will be restored.

The Long Island Rail Road also is experiencing delays and Amtrak has suspended its service between Boston and New York until 10 a.m. Thursday.

More than 70,000 customers were without electricity in Westchester County and on Long Island late Wednesday.

The storm dumped up to 26 inches of snow on parts of Orange and Rockland counties, while New York City’s Central Park saw less than 3 inches.


7:55 p.m.

A women’s college basketball team isn’t letting a snowstorm that’s pounding the Northeast get in its way.

Members of the Northeastern University women’s basketball team pushed their bus back on course after it was stuck in the snow outside a practice facility in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

The team posted a video of the feat on its Twitter account.

The Huskies are in the city to compete in the 2018 CAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

A university spokesman says the entire team and some assistant coaches “had a blast” trying to free the bus after practicing at St. Joseph’s University. They were headed back to their hotel in downtown Philadelphia.

Northeastern plays Delaware in the quarterfinals on Thursday.


4:25 p.m.

A middle school teacher in southern New Jersey has been struck by lightning during a snowstorm sweeping up the East Coast.

Capt. Todd Malland of the Manchester Township police department says the woman was holding an umbrella while on bus duty outside the Manchester Middle School around 2:30 p.m. when the strike occurred.

Malland says the woman felt tingling but didn’t lose consciousness and wasn’t knocked to the ground. She was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

A second woman who had been standing underneath the umbrella but not holding it escaped injury.

The second major snowstorm to slam the Northeast in a week is producing reports of flashes of lightning and booming thunder.


4:20 p.m.

Evening travelers face major challenges as a nor’easter continues to dump a sloshy mix of rain and snow throughout the New York metro area.

Metro-North railroad on Wednesday reduced service north of New York City. The Long Island Rail Road added trains to accommodate commuters leaving work earlier than usual.

New Jersey Transit has suspended all bus service, while trains continue to run on an abbreviated schedule.

Amtrak continues to operate on a modified northeast schedule between Washington, D.C. and Boston.

There have been significant flight cancellations at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

Tractor-trailers have been banned on the New York State Thruway from the Syracuse area to New York City.


2 p.m.

The second major snowstorm to slam the Northeast in a week is producing reports of “thundersnow.”

Meteorologists and residents are reporting flashes of lightning and booming thunder from the Philadelphia area to New York City. Experts say the unusual phenomenon is caused by shallow layers of rising, unstable air.

The nor’easter is expected to intensify as it moves up the coast, with snowfall rates up to 3 inches per hour. The National Weather Service is warning of a treacherous evening commute.


11:05 a.m.

Officials in at least two states are banning big rigs from major highways and warning other drivers to stay off the roads as a late-winter storm bears down on the Northeast.

Tractor-trailers have been banned on the New York State Thruway from the Syracuse area to New York City. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says state troopers will ticket any violators.

In Pennsylvania, all commercial vehicles are banned from interstates 380 and 84, while empty straight trucks, double trailers and other types of commercial carriers have been ordered off several other major interstates including 78, 81 and 80. Officials have also reduced speeds to 45 mph.

Motorists are being urged to avoid travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.


10:35 a.m.

Massachusetts officials are gearing up for the second potent nor’easter in less than week, and anticipating widely different effects around the state.

Gov. Charlie Baker says Wednesday’s storm is likely to bring more than a foot of snow to the Berkshires, scattered power outages and “minor to moderate coastal flooding” in communities still recovering from Friday’s damaging nor’easter.

State highway officials are warning of treacherous driving conditions in through the afternoon and evening hours, with snow falling at a rate of 2-to-3 inches an hour in some areas and causing whiteout conditions.

Boston and coastal communities are expected to get mostly rain. Baker noted that tides are not as astronomically high as at the height of last week’s storm, but could still bring additional flooding woes.


10 a.m.

Connecticut state employees are being sent home from work early Wednesday ahead of a storm that’s forecast to drop as much as a foot of snow in parts of the state.

Nonessential state workers are being dismissed in staggered phases beginning at noon to reduce the risk for traffic problems as commuters head home from Hartford.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the idea is to ensure people are off the roads by rush hour, when the snowfall is expected to be at its heaviest.

Nonessential second-shift state employees are being told not to report to work Wednesday evening.


8:40 a.m.

The latest nor’easter to hit the East Coast is already causing some travel headaches.

Hundreds of flights across the region had been cancelled even before the snow started falling Wednesday due to the dire weather forecasts. And more cancellations are expected as conditions deteriorate during the day.

The morning commute was going smoothly in most areas Wednesday, as the storm had not yet kicked in to gear in most spots. But motorists are being urged to avoid travel if possible so crews can treat and clear roadways as needed.

Amtrak canceled some train service Wednesday, and commuter rail trains in Philadelphia are operating on a weekend schedule.


6 a.m.

A wintry mix of snow and rain is falling along the East Coast as another nor’easter takes aim at the region.

The new storm is expected to drop more than a foot of snow in some interior areas on Wednesday. Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains and parts of Massachusetts could see up to 18 inches.

This comes just days after another storm knocked out power to millions, some of whom are still waiting to have their service restored.

A slight consolation is that the storm is not expected to bring the coastal flooding like the one last week. Some coastal New England and New Jersey communities are still feeling the effects of that storm.


12:05 a.m.

Another nor’easter is threatening communities up and down the East Coast, closing schools and city offices and causing outage concerns for utility customers still trying to bounce back from last week’s storm.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that stretched from eastern Pennsylvania to most of New England, from late Tuesday night into Thursday morning.

Heavy, wet snow and gusting winds could take down trees and snap power lines already weakened from last week’s storm.

More than a foot of snow is forecast for some interior areas. Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains and parts of western Massachusetts could see up to 18 inches.

Damaging winds are in the forecast with gusts of up to 60 mph at Cape Cod and 45 mph at the Jersey shore.

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