Another snowstorm wallops Northeast; thousands of flights canceled


PHIL SEES SHADOW

In Pennsylvania on Monday, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil reportedly saw his shadow, indicating six more weeks of winter, according to legend. The Weather Service routinely notes that the Groundhog Day test has no predictive value, though it spawned a hit movie and rodent imitators around the country. In Sun Prarie, Wis., Jimmy, the city’s official groundhog, bit Mayor Jonathan Freund’s ear during Groundhog Day celebrations Monday. Freund flinched, but he went on with his declaration that Jimmy had predicted an early spring.

— Associated Press

U.N.: 2014 HOTTEST YEAR

The U.N. weather agency said Monday that 2014 was the warmest year on record, though the temperature difference with 2010 and 2005 was so small that it is impossible to say for sure which of the three years was the hottest. The World Meteorological Organization’s analysis Monday mirrored findings two weeks ago by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and also included data from the Met Office in Britain. With 14 of the 15 hottest years recorded in this century, WMO chief Michel Jarraud said warming is expected to continue as atmospheric levels of heat-trapping CO2 rise.

— Associated Press

It didn’t take a groundhog to predict six more weeks of winter as the second major storm in a week created near whiteout conditions in much of New England on Monday after dumping more than a foot and a half of snow in the Chicago region and spreading a blanket of thick snow through the Midwest.

The Groundhog Day storm was expected to bring up to 16 inches of fresh snow to the Boston area less than 24 hours after the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, delaying a celebratory parade. Forecasters from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine, warned that “flash freezing” could make roads dangerously slippery.

In Massachusetts, Cynthia Levine, 57, was struck and killed by a snowplow just before 10 a.m. Monday in the parking lot of a condominium complex in Weymouth, south of Boston, the Norfolk district attorney’s office said.

In New York, state police said they were investigating a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 when a third vehicle lost control on the highway and hit the two vehicles from the first crash. The cause was not immediately known, but the crash occurred as snow and freezing rain hindered travel throughout the region.

Officials in Ohio, where the storm hit before slamming into the Northeast, said a Toledo police officer died while shoveling snow in his driveway Sunday and that the city’s 70-year-old mayor, D. Michael Collins, was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack and crashing his SUV while he was out checking road conditions.

The latest storm cut a wide swath through the Midwest, bringing 19.3 inches to Chicago, the city’s fifth-largest storm ever. About 2,400 customers remained without power Monday morning, down from the 51,000 who lost electricity when the storm began.

More than 5,300 flights have been canceled from Sunday through Monday because of the storm, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. Schools in states across the upper tier of the nation were closed.

Detroit reported its largest snowfall in four decades. The National Weather Service said 16.7 inches fell at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus on Sunday and Monday, the third-largest storm ever and the largest since a 19.3-inch storm in December 1974.

Also in Michigan, the Battle Creek area got 12 to 18 inches and Ann Arbor, 14.1 inches.

From the Midwest, the storm churned its way East, bringing six to 10 inches to the Buffalo region and eight to 14 inches in the Albany area.

In downstate New York, Long Island, especially hit hard last week, was bracing for an additional three to five inches.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents of snow and ice, but the output was expected to be less than last week when nine to 15 inches fell on different parts of the city.

A blizzard brought up to three feet of snow to some parts of Massachusetts last week.

“We are very concerned about this current storm and its implications. Working with city departments and our private partners, we will take every precaution necessary to keep our residents safe,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I ask that every Boston resident look out for their neighbor, whether it be in the home next door, or on our city’s streets.”

“I’d encourage everyone to stay off the roads today,” Walsh said.