Winter Snowstorm: 'Weather Bomb' Slams Into Northeast

Winter storm bears down on eastern U.S.

January 12, 2011, 1:56 AM

Jan. 12, 2011— -- The powerful winter storm that left 11 dead and snarled travel across the Southeast moved overnight in the Northeast.

The "weather bomb" arrived in the Northeast late Tuesday after combining with snow from the Midwest.

Forecasters described this storm as a "weather bomb" -- a fast-moving, severe winter storm where air pressure drops quickly and an unusually far south jet stream brings in moisture, causing heavy snows and winds.

It is the third storm to slam into the region in less than three weeks.

As of this morning, 49 of 50 states had snowfall or snow on the ground, with the exception of Florida.

Blizzard conditions are expected in areas near Boston because of high winds and heavy snow.

New York City declared a weather emergency Tuesday to avoid the criticism the city received for its slow response to clear the roads after the blizzard last month.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged emergency crews would be ready this time.

"We are enhancing our existing snow plan and supplementing it with lessons learned during and after the Christmas weekend blizzard," Bloomberg said.

A much more aggressive approach included 1,700 plows and 365 salt trucks that were out in full force overnight and this morning.

The city has already used at least $20 million of its $38.8 million snow removal budget.

More snow will have fallen in the last 17 days in New York than in an average year.

New York City typically gets 27 inches a year – but after this storm, totals have already surpassed that average with the city receiving 36 inches since December.

In Long Island, the area could get up to 20 inches with whiteout conditions and 35 mile an hour winds.

In Boston, officials declared a severe snow emergency and will be under a blizzard warning from 2 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Public school classes have also been canceled as precaution.

Rhode Island government officials are urging all state employees to stay home.

In Philadelphia, snow totals reached five inches and in central New Jersey, about eight inches have fallen by early morning.

Southeast Deals with Icy Mess

While the winter storm has moved north, problems remain for the Southeast as icy roads pose an ongoing threat for drivers.

Freeze warnings and advisories are still in effect for the region, with bitter cold air expected to linger today.

Overnight, the ice forced highway authorities to close a section of Interstate 20 in Georgia and reroute traffic.

Jack-knifed trucks, stalled trains and canceled flights have put a huge dent in Georgia's $16 billion freight industry.

Across large parts of the Southeast, the ice has forced schools to close this morning for the third day in a row and classes could be canceled the entire week.

Travelers Face Cancellations

As many workers and students stay home because of the storm, travelers face flight cancellations and public transportation disruptions.

According to, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled across the country today, on top of the more than 2,500 that were canceled Tuesday due to the weather.

Atlanta-Based Delta Airlines alone has more than 600 cancellations this morning, according to

Early cancellations help travelers know in advance if they should show up at the airport and allow the airlines to have planes and crews in position for when airports reopen.

But some say that the airlines are canceling flights to avoid government penalties for keeping a plane on a tarmac more than three hours.

In April, a new Department of Transportation rule went into effect, limiting how long domestic passengers could sit on a plane waiting for takeoff.

Airlines can be hit with fines up to $27,500 per passenger if they don't bring jets back to the terminal after tarmac delays of three hours or more.

ABC News' Jeremy Hubbard, Bradley Blackburn, Scott Mayerowitz, Michael Leona and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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