A huge storm headed on Monday for the northeastern United States, the region’s second wintry blast in less than a week, after dumping more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in the Chicago area, reports Reuters. Forecasts ranged from 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm) of snow in New York City, where millions of commuters faced freezing rain during the morning rush hour, to a foot (30 cm) for Boston. Winter will be sticking around for at least six more weeks, according to Monday’s forecast provided by groundhog Punxsutawney Phil who emerged from his burrow in Pennsylvania and saw his shadow. According to legend, seeing his shadow means six more weeks of winter, while not seeing his shadow means cold weather is on its way out.
Official forecasters said snow was expected to fall on Monday at a rate of 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) per hour in southern New England at its peak, making for extremely hazardous driving conditions. Significant accumulations from Albany, New York, to Maine will be exacerbated by winds of up to 40 miles per hour (65 kph), the National Weather Service said. Bitter cold weather was predicted to follow the snow on its eastward path across the country.
Last week, Boston was buried under 2 feet (60 cm) of snow on Tuesday in a blizzard that pummeled New England. New York City had prepared for a major storm but was spared the brunt. Monday’s snow forced the closing of schools from the Midwest to New England. Chicago Public Schools, the country’s third-largest public school system, along with districts in Detroit, Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, canceled classes as the National Weather Service issued storm warnings and watches from western Iowa into upper New England.
The storm figured in cancellations of about 2,000 flights and 2,100 delays, largely in Chicago, according to the FlightStats website. Nearly 20,000 customers in Illinois lost power, and hazardous road conditions were reported in the Midwest.