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Northeast digging out after long weekend

Monday, December 8, 2003

Residents of the Northeast climbed through snowdrifts and navigated icy streets and sidewalks Sunday as they dug out from a weekend nor'easter that dumped more than two feet of snow in places and slammed waves over coastal seawalls.

The powerful storm that started plowing up the coast on Friday began losing strength Sunday. At least 10 deaths were linked to the storm around the Northeast.

Jim Casey was out clearing his sidewalk Sunday morning with his 2-year-old daughter, Anya, who cradled a child-sized shovel in her arms.

"This is very heavy snow, but it's great," said Casey, 35. "We went down to the beach and took a Christmas picture in front of the waves."

National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Dellicarpini said the storm's center was about 80 miles northeast of Cape Cod by midday Sunday as it moved slowly out to sea, giving a parting slap to the coast with gusting wind that drove heavy surf onto the shore.

"It's just taking its time," he said.

The wind downed trees and power lines in Massachusetts, and utilities reported about 8,000 power outages Sunday morning along the Massachusetts coast.

At high tide Sunday morning, waves crashed over seawalls in coastal towns.

Nearly 3 feet of snow fell in western Maine, and up to 2 feet fell in eastern New York's Rensselaer County. As much as 20 inches fell in Connecticut; Clarksburg, Pa., measured 15 inches; and up to 19 inches fell on New York's Long Island.

The storm had disrupted school events, holiday shopping, sports events and SAT college entrance exams during the weekend.

It even postponed a National Guard homecoming in Rhode Island. Forty Rhode Island Air National Guard troops were expected to arrive at a base in North Kingstown on Sunday, but they had to be rescheduled for Monday, said Lt. Col. Michael McNamara.

Boston's Logan Airport closed Saturday evening and didn't get a runway reopened until just after noon Sunday. Hundreds of flights were canceled Saturday at the New York City area's three major airports, and Philadelphia also had cancellations. At some airports, stalled travelers had to spend the night sleeping on cots.

"It will take a day or two to get back to normal," said Rollin Tebbetts, operations manager at Connecticut's Bradley International Airport.

The storm was blamed for one traffic death in Pennsylvania, one in Connecticut, one in upstate New York and two each in New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia. A 25-year-old man died in Rhode Island when the inner tube he was riding on, towed behind a truck, hit a utility poll.

The weather didn't stop supporters of Democratic primary contender John Edwards from going door-to-door in Manchester and Goffstown, N.H., on Sunday on behalf of the North Carolina senator, said Edwards spokesman Tait Sye.

"They've talked to people who are shoveling snow and using snowblowers. I haven't heard of any hot chocolate offers yet, unfortunately," Sye said.

At the Atkinson Congregational Church in Atkinson, N.H., about 80 people -- including the full choir -- turned out for a Sunday morning service, according to the Rev. Paul Dionne.

"The rule of thumb is, if the pastor can get here, we have church," said Dionne.

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On the Net:

National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/


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