Winter storm hits the American Northeast COLUMBIA (Connecticut) – A WINTER storm responsible for deaths in the Midwest blasted the Northeast on Thursday, dumping snow and sleet and clogging some of the United States’ most heavily travelled highways. Some parts of the Northeast could receive up to 0.3 metres of snow. Schools, businesses and government agencies in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut closed early.

The resulting exodus choked highways and streets. Authorities reported hundreds of mostly minor accidents throughout the region.

Some vehicles were stranded along roadways, preventing plows from getting through.

Traffic also slowed at airports in the Northeast.

There were delays up to three hours for arriving flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where more than 200 flights had been cancelled by late afternoon, officials said.

Elsewhere, Boston’s Logan International reported more than 100 flights cancelled. No major problems were reported at New York’s airports; some airlines allowed passengers to reschedule their flights for free.

The storm was blamed for 35 deaths, mostly in traffic accidents, since it developed last weekend.

In Oklahoma, about 342,000 homes and businesses still were without power on Thursday, officials said. In Missouri, about 31,900 customers remained in the dark, said Mr Al Butkus, spokesman for utility Aquila.

In the Northeast, state police said portions of several highways had to be closed for a time in part because motorists abandoned their vehicles in the travel lanes.

Along the shoreline in Milford, Connecticut, sleet and hail turned the roads to sheets of ice.

In Rhode Island, two dozen school districts closed early, as did companies and state agencies in Providence. The workers’ exodus and the snow choked streets in the capital city.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, crews in the Plains and Midwest worked to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people left in the dark in the storm’s ice-coated wake.

Sunshine and milder temperatures on Thursday should help cleanup efforts in much of the Plains, but another winter storm approaching from the west could dump heavy snow on parts of Oklahoma on Friday. — AP