Winter storm unleashes deadly weather chaos in US | News | DW | 03.03.2018
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Winter storm unleashes deadly weather chaos in US

At least five people have been killed by a powerful nor'easter that slammed into the US East Coast and Midwest, bringing snow, rain and hurricane-force winds. A flight into Dulles Airport also faced a rough landing.

The eastern coast of the United States stretching all the way from Virginia to Maine, as well as parts of the inland Midwest, were battered by a powerful storm on Friday which forced businesses and schools to close and wreaked havoc on travelers in the region.

The storm killed at least five people, with at least four of the deaths due to trees and branches felled by high winds. The gusts and branches also downed power lines, leaving around 1.6 million customers without power.

The weather system dumped more than 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow on some areas of upstate New York and northeast Pennsylvania, private forecasting service AccuWeather said. New York City's airports were brought to a standstill. Heavy snowfall also blanketed parts of Midwestern Ohio.

Read more: Rome sees first snowfall in years

A car drives down a snowy street (picture-alliance/AP Photo/The Berkshire Eagle/B. Garver)

Snow snarled roads while high winds brought down trees with fatal consequences

Waves higher than a two-story house slammed into the Massachusetts coast, while the city of Boston saw seawater flooding its coastal streets for the second time this year. Just south of Boston in Qincy, floodwaters trapped people in their cars and homes, necessitating their rescue by police.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker activated 200 servicemen and women in the National Guard to assist victims of the storm.

Read more: Ireland shuts down, Britain calls in army amid winter storm chaos

Hurricane-force winds

The storm brought with it winds that reached speeds of 80 miles per hour (129 kilometers per hour). Meteorologists in the Washington, DC area reported gusting winds of around 45 miles an hour in the early evening.

Government buildings in the nation's capital shuttered their doors for the day due to the weather, as did the Smithsonian Museum.

The strong winds also affected road traffic, toppling a truck on a bridge in Rhode Island and a tractor-trailer on New York's Tapanzee bridge.

Stomach-upsetting travel

Travel was disrupted all up and down the east coast. Amtrack train services from DC to Boston were suspended, and Dulles Airport in Virginia halted all air traffic after high winds forced them to evacuate the control tower. The airport staff found humor in the situation, which they shared on Twitter while reminding travelers to stay safe:

However, the flight for some passengers arriving to the DC-area airport was anything but laughable.

"Pretty much everyone on the plane threw up," a pilot wrote in a report to the National Weather Service after landing a flight safely, if bumpily, at the airport.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency.

The worst of the weather is supposed to taper off over Friday night into Saturday, weather officials said.

Pedestrians walk through snow in time square (Reuters/A. Kelly)

Workers made their way through snow in Times Square, New York City

cmb/jm (AP, Reuters)

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