Snow, high winds to pummel areas as winter weather marches on

Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 9:00am

Another day of frightful weather awaits some areas Thursday as a powerful winter storm hurtles across the northeastern United States.

The Christmas storm unleashed heavy snow, bristling winds and tornadoes in the Midwest, killing six people, including two young children. The two -- ages 1 and 2 -- died in a car accident in Arkansas, state officials said.

And as the storm, which started in the Midwest, continues surging east, snow will leave thousands of passengers stranded after flight cancellations.

More than 360 flights have already been taken off the schedule for Thursday, tracking website FlightAware.com said. That's in addition to about 1,780 flights canceled a day before.

Travelers are advised to check before leaving home to see if their flights are postponed or canceled.

Forecasters said additional heavy snowfall is expected in various states, including upstate New York, southern New England and central Maine through Friday morning.

As much as two feet of snow is possible in central Maine, leading to hazardous roads, forecasters said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged residents to avoid nonessential travel.

"Winter weather has arrived for many parts of the state, so as a precaution we have opened the emergency operation center to coordinate response efforts using all state and local resources," Cuomo said. "I also urge New Yorkers to closely watch local news reports for weather updates and adjust their travel plans accordingly."

Wind was causing major delays at airports, including Philadelphia International Airport.

At one point, it had delays of more than four hours, the longest setbacks in the country, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Several other airports in the northeast experienced delays of more than two hours Wednesday.

CNN meteorologist Alexandra Steele said wind was the primary problem.

"(Many of) the big cities aren't seeing snow accumulation, they're seeing very heavy rain with the wind, " she said.

Drivers in Pennsylvania braved icy streets and highways. In Pittsburgh, which was seeing its first major snowfall of the season, travelers battled the elements.

As many people tried to get home, others were surveying the results of the storms that began in the Midwest and surged east.

A white Christmas is rare for Little Rock, Arkansas, but a powerful winter storm took it to a new level: The 9 inches that fell broke a December 25 snowfall record that stood for 86 years.

In areas where the storm has passed, officials were assessing the damage.

More than 25 storm-related injuries were reported in Mississippi, the state's emergency management office said. No fatalities were reported.

In addition to the injuries, about 70 homes were damaged, most in the southern portion of the state.
 

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