‘Ice, slush and all kinds of Yuck’: Residents’ Stories from The Storm

‘Ice, Slush and all kinds of Yuck’: Residents’ Stories from the Storm

By Tim Skillern |  The Lookout

Snow covered Norwich, Conn., streets early Saturday morning. (Christa Leigh/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

As snow blankets the northeastern United States, snarls traffic and shoves residents indoors, Yahoo News readers are sharing their storm experiences. Here are dispatches, photos and videos they shared.  (All times on posts are ET.)


10:15 a.m.

Some homes without power on Long Island

YAPHANK, N.Y.—It’s Saturday on Long Island, and no business is open while city employees are busy clearing snow off the roads. Although I was surprised how quickly snow covered my car on Friday, it is unbelievable today. My car is completely covered in snow. In front of my house, there is nowhere to pass.

Worst of all, I lost power last night. The snowstorm has caused many of my neighbors to stay home. My neighbors usually wake up early in the morning. As I’m writing, it is 9:43 a.m., but I can’t see anyone outside. The temperature is going down, and it is very windy.

— Ismail Kakembo

9:43 a.m.

Blizzard of ’13 lives up to hype

NORWICH, Conn.—This morning we are still experiencing heavy snowfall, though forecasters expect that to taper off around 10 a.m. Norwich has about 23 inches of snow at the moment. Snow banks in our front yard have easily reached waist-high. We had to shovel the snow outside our front door twice in the middle of the night just to prevent us from becoming trapped inside.

A blanket of about three inches of snow covers all the roads to our neighborhood; it’s clear that the plows have not come through for some time. The storm became so bad last night that state and city plow trucks were pulled off the roads; they are now back in action. Not only is traveling impractical, but it’s also impossible. Even so, Gov. Dan Malloy ordered that all roads be closed until further notice to prevent optimistic drivers from getting stuck in the snow.

Though Connecticut Light & Power reports about 36,000 of its customers without power, here in Norwich, the Norwich Public Utilities is only reporting sporadic outages, with about 160 customers out of power. We thankfully experienced no power outages during the storm.

— Christa Leigh

8:19 a.m.

Snow buried a car overnight in Portland, Maine. (Sheryl Westleigh/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

In Portland, Maine, snowed in on Saturday

PORTLAND, Maine—It’s 8 a.m. Saturday, and we’re going absolutely nowhere. Snow is still falling and the plows have yet to be seen on my little street. The snow from Nemo has buried the entire street, and cars are barely visible under the snow drifts. There may be a small car or two that have completely disappeared.

I’ve lived in Maine my whole life, and we’re used to heavy snow; this, however, is one of those storms we will remember digging out from. Light fluffy snow is pretty, but it drifts a lot and with the wind from this storm, it has piled up in front of doors and cars. As soon as you dig out, it starts filling back in. No one here is going anywhere for a while.

— Sheryl Westleigh


12:06 a.m.

Ten inches, and still falling, near Boston

CHELSEA, Mass.—Snow covers all of my windows. The only sounds my companion and I hear are the wind whipping outside and the occasional rumble of a plow or wail of a fire engine siren. Gov. Deval Patrick ordered all non-emergency vehicles off the road after 4 p.m., the first time that’s happened since the infamous Blizzard of ’78, so the roads are virtually empty. We spotted a swerving SUV attempting to brave the storm this evening, but the storm was clearly winning.

Late Friday snowfall outside Boston. (L. Carter/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

Everything is closed, even the 24-hour McDonald’s just down the street that never closes. There’s nowhere to go, and no logical way to get there, so there’s nothing much to do but wait out the storm. My companion and I — along with most of Chelsea and the surrounding towns, apparently — did all of our grocery shopping Thursday night, so we’re well-stocked with food and making the best of a nice, (mostly) quiet Friday at home.

We’ve been going outside every hour to take pictures and measure accumulation; the snow is falling at about two and a half inches an hour now. The conditions are ghastly, but in a sense they’re also magical. My mother was pregnant with me during the Blizzard of ’78, so this is the first storm of this magnitude I’ve experienced firsthand, and it brings with it a sense of childlike excitement. Even my cat has been peering out the window in wonder, trying to figure out what’s going on.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t lose power, and that when we wake up Saturday, my car won’t be completely buried beneath the snow. But whatever the outcome, this blizzard a great excuse to spend a cozy evening with a loved one and appreciate the shelter from the storm.

— L. Carter

11:58 p.m.

Taking the storm seriously in Sandy-weary NYC

BRONX, N.Y.—As winter storm Nemo approached my Bronx home, memories of Sandy were still fresh in New Yorkers’ minds.

We’ve learned to take the weather seriously. After monitoring the weather reports, I made the decision to handle all my business, including grocery shopping, one day before the storm. Snow in NYC not only screws up the roads, it also disrupts train service. And sure enough, service has been disrupted. Commuter rail service on certain MTA lines has been suspended. A video of one metro north train station shows the snow already covering the rails. With snow still falling and predicted to fall Saturday as well, train service near me has been suspended.

— Justin Samuels

9:02 p.m.

Power outages strike Rhode Island

PAWTUCKET, R.I.—This winter storm system is currently hitting the northeast hard. In Rhode Island, we are experiencing wind gusts up to 50 mph. The visibility is very poor and all people have been ordered off the roads. The major highways have been closed to commuters in an effort to keep all non-essential workers off the road. This storm has developed rapidly over the day, starting with a light dusting and light winds to a full-on blizzard. With snow falling at such a fast rate, our area is bracing for more than two feet of accumulation.

The snow is wet and heavy, weighing down the trees in my backyard. Shoveling is difficult due to the strong winds and cold chill. With the accumulations, it seems that shoveling needs to be done every hour or so just to keep up. As of 5 p.m., more than 1,000 people were without power. Within the last couple of hours, this number has jumped to tens of thousands. Although we currently are still with power in Pawtucket, the lights continue to dim on and off and we are prepared in the event we do lose electricity.

— Meagan Coelho

Friday afternoon in West Nyack, N.Y.(SA_Steve /Flickr)

8:45 p.m.

In Stamford, Nemo whimpers on first day

STAMFORD, Conn.—In truth, the snow is indeed still falling and the occasional snowman can be seen (and is being buried ever-deeper), but Winter Storm Nemo, snowpocalypse, Nemogeddon, or whatever it’s being called, has ended its first day with a whimper.

Six inches, no match for my Toro Power Max snow-blower, once sat in my driveway, but now grace my lawn in piles; another layer of snow softens their edges. There’s probably an inch or so that has since fallen, which will be handled in the morning.

The day was largely uneventful. Nothing distinguishes Nemo from a typical heavy snowstorm. The temperature has been a moderately cold 30 degrees, the wind has not been a significant player, and the snow itself has accumulated, but not greatly and only over 12 hours.

— David J. Kozlowski

6:58 p.m.

Visibility lower, snow heavier in southeast Connecticut

NORWICH, Conn.—Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy issued a travel ban for state highways, but local roads are still accessible. Norwich City Manager Alan Bergren issued a state of emergency for the town as of 4 p.m.

An afternoon trip to our local Stop & Shop found shelves still full with no long lines. The store’s cashiers said they will still be open until midnight tonight. Stop & Shop’s gas station was closed, however, and it was unclear whether it was due to an outage of gas or the snow. Three other gas stations in the Norwich area were still open for business. Roads are still moderately clear with a few snow plows on the road, but it’s become apparent that soon they won’t be able to keep up with the heavy snowfall that we’re currently experiencing. Visibility conditions have also decreased considerably from this morning’s work commute.

— Christa Leigh


5:32 p.m.

Blizzard knocking at the door

BUCKSPORT, Maine—Snow began falling early morning in mid-coastal Maine. The temperatures were frigid outside and down to around 5 degrees. Winds were whipping, and the roads had just started to disappear with a blanket of about two inches of snow on the ground. Our town’s road crew had its plows on and was already out clearing the roads locally. I am sure these few inches that had begun to fall were an instant reminder that the blizzard was just knocking at our door.

We left our house early, so we fared well at the gas pumps with only a few others taking their turn getting gas. We took our gas cans as we would need the gas for the generator if we have power outages. We got enough extra for our snow blower that undoubtedly will get a good workout. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, so that I could get all the essentials we need, e.g., batteries, water, milk, eggs, coffee, oh—and chocolate! The parking lot was full, and we barely had a place to park—but I got in and out with no major issues with everything I needed to weather the storm.

— Virginia Wright

Long Island resident Eric Holden shot this video on Friday afternoon.

4:53 p.m.

Fun, not fretting, in Maine’s blizzard

READFIELD, Maine—The day before a storm of any size, our area grocery stores and gas stations get overrun with customers. Everyone is trying to not only stock up on food and necessities for the possible three days of not wanting to be on the roads, but also collecting water, batteries and something for heat just in case we spend a week or so without power.

It is like a game to most of us. We all sit around trying to guess as to how many inches of snow we will end up getting and how many days we will go without power if at all. I personally love the feeling of being surrounded by snow and to be able to sit in my living room and just watch the beauty happen around me.

Oh, the work? You want to know about the work side of it? Well, with each storm, there does come a lot of responsibility, but, hey, we are Mainers. We can handle it. Have your shovels handy and your plow on and you will be fine. Make it fun. There is no need to be stressed out.

— Angela Godbout

Roads in upstate New York on Friday. (Ismail Kakembo/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

4:40 p.m.

Bitten by Sandy, taking this storm seriously

STAMFORD, Conn.—Storm-weary residents here, once bitten by Sandy, are preparing for the worst. Store shelves were empty and lines at gas stations resulted in wait times of as long as 30 minutes Thursday night, as residents prepared to be trapped inside their homes. Water, road salt, and shovels were in short supply. Optimistically, plastic sleds were also sold out.

The snow fall is alternating between heavy and light. It seems to fall at inches per hour, only to change to very light flakes. It’s a heavy, wet, sticky snow on the ground, making shoveling a back-breaker. There’s no significant wind to speak of and, thus far, no significant damage, injuries, or power outages reported.

The blizzard will continue throughout the day and into Saturday, with the heaviest snowfall expect in the evening. Connecticut’s Gov. Dan Malloy is declaring a state of emergency with road closures to begin at noon.

We have adequate supplies of staple foods, gas for the snow-blower, and flashlights and batteries. We checked our property for potential problems and found none (fortunately, no trees are within striking distance of our house). The storm is finding us well-prepared, well-stocked, and ready to spend a weekend indoors.

— David J. Kozlowski

3:24 p.m.

Tempers flare, shelves stripped in central Jersey as storm arrives

MONROE TOWNSHIP, N.J.—Starting Thursday, residents here began stocking up on food, batteries, snow shovels, and gasoline. Those lucky enough to have generators don’t want to risk running out of gas, which may be as hard to find after this storm as it was after “Superstorm” Sandy.

Thousands of flights have been canceled at Newark and other New York-area airports. The parking lot at the local Stop & Shop was jammed, as people stripped shelves of milk, bread, and bottled water. Tempers frayed and a horn-blowing contest erupted over a parking space– if the participants had not been senior citizens, fisticuffs would probably have taken place instead.

As of noon, the temperature is hovering around 30 degrees with a steady rain. The rain is expected to change to snow later this afternoon, with an accumulation of six to 12 inches forecast for central Jersey by the time the storm moves out.

— E. Burgin

Temperatures have plummeted in Freedom, Maine, on Friday. (Raiscara Avalon/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

2:19 p.m.

Near whiteout conditions in central New Hampshire

TILTON, N.H.—Weather conditions are worsening rapidly in central New Hampshire, with highway visibility and road navigation a major problem even in the early a.m. commute. Thick cloud cover at this time just added to the low visibility.

The right lane on RT 93 in New Hampshire is relatively clear, as you can see in this video,but passing cars in the left lane make visibility close to zero.

I commuted from Tilton to Plymouth, N.H., at 8 a.m., about 30 miles and although the RT 93 was not slick or slippery, drivers who chose to drive below 50 MPH seemed to compound the problem as other vehicles stacked up behind them, and ultimately passed them, creating a potential sliding and collision hazard.

The snow spray from the passing vehicles produced complete whiteout conditions for the remaining vehicles when cars and trucks passed us.

Franconia Notch is a total whiteout driving situation, as one Thornton driver reported after he turned back from his commute and returned home.

Expect back roads to be even worse than RT 93. Though the plows are out in full force, they cannot keep up with the high rate of snow falling at this time. State troopers can be seen parked along RT 93 and are closely monitoring the situation.

Main streets are already sloppy, and I was sliding down hilly side roads, or unable to drive up steep roads. I saw no accidents during this early morning commute, but I am sure that has changed by the time this is published. It was a very tense drive.

Staying at home is strongly suggested if at all possible.

— J.D. Harvey

Emptying shelves in a supermarket. (AndrewDallos/Flickr)

2:04 p.m.

The Blizzard of 2013, aka the Great Raid on Dunkin Donuts

TORRINGTON, Conn.—I took the day off, as the predicted historic snowstorm approached in Connecticut. I decided to venture out this morning for some breakfast while the roads were still passable. My wife asked me to pick up some donuts while I was out, so I proceeded to the local grocery store where there is a Dunkin’ Donuts.

To my dismay there wasn’t a donut left on the shelf.

I figured I had to go to the main store where I was sure there would be some since it was only 10 a.m.

As I pulled up to the main Dunkin’ Donuts store, I could see through the window that it was going to be slim pickings.

Nothing. Dunkin’ Donuts does not have donuts!

I asked the girl behind the counter why a donut shop doesn’t have donuts at 10 a.m. She told me that people were coming in and buying dozens of donuts at a time. Dozens of donuts? Is this some kind of an emergency staple I don’t know about?

— Richard Farr

Snow dusts the streets in Bucksport, Maine, early Friday morning. (Matthew Johnson/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

1:18 p.m.

Already drawing comparisons to 1978

NEWPORT, R.I.—Here on the coast, we’re preparing for what has the potential to be a storm as severe of the great blizzard of 1978. Almost 35 years ago to the day, that storm left massive amounts of snow on the entire northeastern United States.

Grocery stores and supermarkets were bombarded overnight with people preparing for a long freeze-out this weekend. Lines are winding around gas stations here as the storm approaches. A state of emergency was put in to place at noon, so it would be best to stay off the roads unless there is an emergency.

The state was prepared for this since last night. Classes were canceled at high schools across the state. All RIPTA buses, including the non-medical ride program, were canceled at noon on Friday in anticipation of the coming storm. People who require public transportation can follow them on Facebook and Twitter at @RIPTA_RI to stay up-to-date with when service will be restored. Residents can sign up for news updates, which will update them of service changes.

— Eric Jonathan Martin


1:02 p.m.

Storm increasing pace in southern Maine

BUCKSPORT, Maine—Somewhere around 7 a.m., it started to flurry fairly hard, and the storm steadily increased its pace. There is already a few inches of snow as of now (1 p.m.), and this is not even the actual storm. That is supposed to hit sometime early this evening and continue into tomorrow.

There’s a 19-car pile-up on I-295 in southern Maine, and there have been a number of sirens heard locally in town. If you don’t need to go out, I would suggest not, and if you must, please take it slow and do it soon. From what we are being told, the worst is yet to come.

— Matthew Johnson

10:58 a.m.

The flakes are starting to to appear in Rhode Island

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.—The sky looks grey and menacing. I went to the supermarket Thursday morning (along with at least 100 other people who seemed to have the same idea) and made sure I had enough food. The woman in the checkout line before me said the parking lot was in chaos and everybody was acting like the end of the world was coming. I thought it was very funny, and also very accurate. Now I am warm and safe indoors, and there is nothing to do except wait.

There is a feeling of impending doom and my joints ache. I’m not looking forward to this, but I’m as prepared as I can get. I don’t drive due to a medical condition, and ironically I have often found that it is actually faster for me to walk right after a snowstorm, since I can be downtown in 15 minutes.

That advantage goes away after the first day or so because they don’t pay much attention to the pedestrians and the priority, understandably, goes to the motorists. People like me are having to deal with ice, slush, and all kinds of yuck. The plows have to dump the snow somewhere, though, and it is usually right where I need to walk. So I have to either find a way around it, or climb over a slippery hill and hope that I don’t fall on my behind, or worse, fall and land in the road in front of a car.

I’m also hoping the power won’t go off. Or if it does, that it will only be off for a little while. The heat in this apartment is electric, and it will get really cold in here really fast.

— Melanie Gibson

The first of the snowfall in central Connecticut (Christa Leigh/Yahoo! Contributor Network)

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Earthquake Strikes Eastern Seaboard by Liz Goodwin…

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Office workers gather on the sidewalk in front of Building…


Earthquake strikes Eastern seaboard
By Liz Goodwin

National Affairs Reporter
By Liz Goodwin | The Lookout – 3 hrs ago

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Mineral, Virginia, 87 miles outside of Washington, D.C., today. You can see the White House appear to shake as the Secret Service walks on its roof in the video above.

Shaking could be felt from Toronto to New York all the way to North Carolina at close to 2 p.m. this afternoon. The quake lasted 45 seconds, and is one of the largest ever to hit the East Coast.

The Pentagon, Capitol and White House were all evacuated, according to the Associated Press.

Roll Call says the Capitol was evacuated after staffers saw “chandeliers…swinging from side to side.” According to an eyewitness on Twitter, the National Cathedral is damaged, with some of its stones falling off altogether.

But no fatalities have been reported so far, and the damage appears to be relatively minimal.

Many people trying to make cell phone calls in the area reported having trouble finding service. Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, used Twitter to ask Washington residents to “try to stay off your cell phone if it is not an emergency.”

Office workers stood outside Dupont Circle in Washington, waiting to be allowed back in to their buildings after the tremor, reports Laura Rozen, who writes The Envoy blog for Yahoo! News. While there were reports that the National Monument was “tilted,” Yahoo! Ticket reporter Chris Moody went to the scene and found it looking fine. The grounds within 1,000 feet of the monument were closed, he reported.

Two nuclear reactors in Virginia were automatically shut off after the quake, but no damage has been reported, according to Reuters . A nuclear power plant near the epicenter of the quake is designed to survive up to a 6.1-magnitude quake, according to the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy.

This video shows cars crushed from falling bricks in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia:

credit: yahoo news

Earthquake Listed at 5.9 Rattles East Coast From Virginia to New Hampshire  By JESSICA HOPPER (@jesshop23) Aug. 23, 2011
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake jolted the East Coast, rattling people from Martha’s Vineyard to Washington, D.C. to North Carolina, prompting the evacuation of Congressional buildings, slowing rail and air traffic, and taking two nuclear reactors offline.

The earthquake sent people pouring out of office buildings, hospitals, the Pentagon and the State Department when it struck at 1:51 p.m. The pillars of the capitol in Washington, D.C. shook. Alarms sounded in the FBI and Department of Justice buildings, and some flooding was reported on an upper floor of the Pentagon as a result of the quake.

Parks and sidewalks in Washington were packed with people who fled their buildings. All of the monuments along the National Mall have been closed. Police on horseback kept people a safe distance from the Washington Monument and the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

National Parks Service Spokesman Jeffrey Olson told the Associated Press that there was “absolutely no damage” to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial or other tourist destinations along the Mall.

The National Cathedral suffered damage to at least three of the cathedral’s pinnacles, Dean of the Cathedral Samuel Lloyd said. The cathedral has been cordoned off with yellow police tape as a precaution.

Officials inspected Congressional buildings before members of Congress and their staff were allowed to return to their offices.

Office workers gather on the sidewalk in downtown Washington, D.C., Aug. 23, 2011, moments after a 5.9 magnitude tremor shook the nation’s capital. The quake was felt as far north as New Hampshire and in Martha’s Vineyard where President Obama and his family are vacationing. It was felt as far south as South Carolina and as far west as Cleveland, Ohio.

The East Coast gets earthquakes from time to time, but rarely of a magnitude to make skyscrapers sway.

Paul Segall, a Stanford geophysicist who studies the structure and development of earthquake faults, called today’s shaker “a significant earthquake for that part of the world. It could do significant damage.”

“I can’t remember an event that large on the East Coast,” he said.

No significant damage or fatalities have been reported. Some injuries have been reported in Washington D.C., the fire department spokesman told the Associated Press. In New York City, the fire department said that they received a surge in calls.

Authorities in New York and Washington said cell phone traffic was so heavy that it hampered their ability to respond to emergencies. A spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency urged people to email and use text messaging instead of their cell phones for their next few hours to ease the congestion.

The epicenter of the quake was near Mineral, Va., 39 miles from Richmond, Va., and 83 miles from the nation’s capital. The quake was .6 miles deep.

According to convertalot.com, a web site which compiles measurements and calculators for a variety of statistics, the magnitude 5.9 earthquake released energy equivalent to the explosion of 10,676 tons of TNT.

Amanda Reidelbach, office manager and spokeswoman for the Louisa County Department of Emergency Services in Mineral, Va., said that the town has felt “at least a half dozen or so” aftershocks since the initial quake struck.

“There were pretty serious aftershocks,” she said. “We walked out onto the street and felt the ground just rumbling.”

There have been reports of structural damage to some residences in town, Reidelbach says, but no reports of significant injuries. Mandatory evacuations were put in place shortly after the quake with all non-essential government and county personnel were sent home for the day. Schools were also closed.

The epicenter of the quake is very close to two Dominion Power nuclear power plants, North Anna 1 and 2.

Elizabeth Stuckle, spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that the reactors were “automatically and safely shut down.” The plant declared an “unusual event” which is the lowest category of four emergency classifications. Back-up generators automatically kicked in to keep the reactors cool, the NRC said.

Nine other nuclear plants on the East Coast declared an “unusual event,” but were none shut down.

The tremblor affected travel in the region.

Amtrak said it was running at reduced speed and was checking tracks and terminals for damage. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said the Metro is moving at 15 mph as inspectors check all tracks.

Flights at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, JFK International in New York and in Philadelphia were temporarily halted. Control towers at JFK and Newark International airports were temporarily evacuated. The delay will cause slow air traffic throughout the region, the Federal Aviation Administration warned. In addition, about a dozen flights were diverted from JFK to Boston.

East Coast Earthquake; Amy Winehouse Toxicology Results

A woman who works at Mineral Barber Shop in Mineral, Va. said that the inside of her shop is a mess but there doesn’t appear to be any major damage outside the town square.

In Richmond, Va., a woman who works on the 18th floor of a 20 story building said she and her co-workers left the building when the shaking first began.

“At first I thought it was someone jumping on floor above me, but then it was really loud and shaky,” she said.

People in the New York Times building on 42nd street in Manhattan said they felt the entire building shift, and watched office furniture move. As the tall buildings in New York swayed, people ran out into the street.

The New York City Criminal Court in lower Manhattan was also evacuated.

In Baltimore, Maryland, artist Lisa Lewenz was working in her basement studio when she began to feel movement under her feet.

“Everything started trembling, with a big boom sound coming up from the ground. I’ve lived in LA long enough to know this drill, so rushed upstairs, and found the glassware still shuttering for about a minute. Couldn’t get through by the phone to friends, and there was no news online, so I started worrying my house was collapsing,” Lewenz said.

Rare East Coast Earthquake Reaches 5.9 Magnitude
Since there were no serious injuries, some saw the lighter side in the unexpected quake.

Michelle Mittelstadt said, “My first earthquake! What’s next: Plague of locusts?”

Another woman who works with the Federal Aviation Administration said that the, “If you have to be evacuated for an earthquake, the National Mall is a nice spilling out point!”

The earthquake felt along the eastern corridor follows an earthquake felt Monday in Colorado. That 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Trinidad, Colorado.

The United States’ Geological Survey said that earthquakes have been felt in the central Virginia area since 1774.

ABC News’ Jane E. Allen, Christina Caron, Troy McMullen, Jack Cloherty, Jim Sciutto, Aaron Katersky and Dennis Powell contributed to this report.

Momma’s Source; ABC News, DSK News