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News / Nation & World

New England braces for major spring snowstorm as severe weather continues to sock US

By BRUCE SHIPKOWSKI, Associated Press
Published: April 3, 2024, 8:57am
3 Photos
A steel billboard and its support were blown over in Dunbar, W.Va., Tuesday, April 2, 2024, after severe storms blew through the area.
A steel billboard and its support were blown over in Dunbar, W.Va., Tuesday, April 2, 2024, after severe storms blew through the area. (Chris Dorst/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) Photo Gallery

FRYEBURG, Maine (AP) — A major spring storm was expected to drop more than a foot of snow in parts of New England on Wednesday, while heavy rains were likely to soak the East Coast and cleanup work continued in several states wracked by tornadoes and other severe weather blamed for at least one death.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for several states in New England, where 7 to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters) of snow were expected with some local amounts of 24 inches including higher elevations. Parts of New Hampshire and Maine were expected to see the highest amounts.

A mix of rain and snow was due to start falling throughout the region Wednesday morning, with wet and heavy snow expected by evening and through Thursday in many areas. Extensive power outages were possible.

Maine officials warned the storm was expected to cause difficult travel conditions, power outages and minor coastal flooding.

“Travel is discouraged during this storm due to unfavorable driving conditions,” Pete Rogers, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement. “Folks need to be prepared at home for the possibility of an extended power outage with emergency supplies, alternate power sources, and should charge their mobile devices in advance.”

Meanwhile, wind gusts of up to 60 mph (about 97 kph) were expected in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, coastal Connecticut and parts of Vermont, where flood watches had been issued. Heavy rains and severe thunderstorms were also expected to impact the Mid-Atlantic states and Florida, with damaging winds and hail being the main threats.

Forecasters said heavy, wet snow would persist across Wisconsin and Upper Michigan into Thursday.

The severe weather comes a day after thousands of homes and businesses were left without power after strong storms roared through several states across the nation.

Storms in Northeastern Oklahoma on Tuesday unleashed three suspected tornadoes and dumped heavy rain that was blamed for the death of a 46-year-old homeless woman in Tulsa who was sheltering inside a drainage pipe.

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In Kentucky, crews were out Wednesday morning surveying damage and cleaning up from storms that had moved through, producing at least three tornados, officials said.

Tornadoes touched down in Nelson, Anderson and Jessamine counties and crews were checking if damage from a later storm was caused by tornadic activity, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Kochasic said.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said damage from the second storm was concentrated in the Prospect area, but no major injuries were reported.

Five structures were also destroyed, 37 had major damage and 38 had minor damage, Anchorage Middletown Fire Chief Kevin Groody said. He said 22 residents reported minor injuries but didn’t need medical treatment.

At the peak of the storm, there were about 7,500 customers in Louisville without power, but that number was down to about 1,400 Wednesday morning and most were expected to be restored by day’s end, Greenberg said.

While observing some of the damage Tuesday night, Greenberg said it was heartening to see neighbors out helping others in need.

“In the dark of night, with power off in the entire neighborhood, neighbors and families coming together to help one another,” he said.

One person was hurt and taken to a hospital after a tree came down on their house in Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Linda Gorton told WLEX-TV. Homes were damaged and a tree crushed a University of Kentucky student’s car.

Another round of storms was expected to hit the state Wednesday, along with Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia.