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US: Blizzard buries Northeast


WASHINGTON, (Xinhua): A massive blizzard dumped as much as three feet (one meter) of snow in parts of the Northeastern United States, leaving some 650,000 households and businesses without power and two dead by Saturday.

Steady snow started falling on Friday afternoon. By Saturday morning, many roads were impassable in the densely populated New England region. More than 38 inches (97 cm) of snow fell in Milford in central Connecticut, and an 82 miles per hour (132 km per hour) wind gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Parts of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire also saw snow accumulate to at least 2 feet. People across the region were having trouble opening their doors to get outside.

The blizzard wrecked major havoc to transportation. In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick enacted a statewide driving ban for the first time since the Blizzard of 1978. Airlines canceled more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and the three major airports serving New York City as well as Boston's Logan Airport were closed.

At least two were killed in the blizzard, one in New York and the other in Connecticut. In New York, a 74-year-old man died after being struck by a car which lost control in Poughkeepsie, and in Connecticut, one pedestrian was struck by a vehicle and killed Friday night in Prospect.

Even as snow continued to fall, coastal flooding has become a major concern. On Saturday morning, officials in Massachusetts ordered the evacuation of some communities along the coast as waves lashed the shoreline and high tide brought a surge of water.

Among the big cities in the region, the situation in Boston seemed most precarious. Nearly 22 inches of snow fell in Boston and up to 3 feet was expected, the National Weather Service said, threatening the city's 2003 record of 27.6 inches.

Further exacerbating the problem, temperature dropped precipitously overnight in Boston, creating dangerous conditions for those without power. And the storm seemed to have gained strength in the Boston area on Saturday morning, with winds topping 70 miles per hour whipped through.

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