Weather & Natural Disasters

Crews work to restore power as Northeast braces for more bad weather following deadly nor'easter

Rick Jervis
High winds downed a tree onto power lines, blocking the street and damaging a vehicle March 2, 2018 in Takoma Park, MD.
Getty Images

Work crews across the Northeast raced Sunday to restore power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses in the wake of a powerful nor'easter as the area braced for more possible bad weather on the way.

Tens of thousands of utility workers were working over the weekend after the muscular storm — known as a "bomb cyclone" for undergoing a rapid pressure drop — battered neighborhoods from Virginia to Maine. Snow showers and coastal flooding were expected in parts of upstate New York and New England on Sunday as another, much weaker storm arrives and mingles with the bomb cyclone, nicknamed "windmageddon" for the widespread damage and power outages caused by its strong winds.

"The snow can coat more areas on Sunday night with the highest chance for that to happen from Boston to Cape Cod," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. "Motorists may face slick patches for the Monday morning commute."

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The weather pattern that helped deliver the bomb cyclone will weaken slightly but not go away in the short term, according to AccuWeather. This pattern, known as a block, causes the routine west-to-east movement of storms to slow down. This slower speed allows the storms to strengthen in certain situations.

While the upcoming pattern will not be brutally cold, it may be just cold enough so that when storms come calling, some snow may be involved in parts of the Northeast, according to the site.

Meanwhile, crews were busy with the cleanup of snapped trees, damaged structures and piles of debris from Friday's storm. Floodwaters had receded in most areas, but the storm had taken huge chunks out of the coastline in Massachusetts and other states.

"We've been here a long time and we've never seen it as bad as this," Alex Barmashi, who lives in the hard-hit village of Sagamore Beach in Massachusetts, told the Associated Press.

Up the coast in Scituate, Becky Smith watched as ocean waters started to fill up a nearby marina's parking lot from her vantage point at the Barker Tavern, a restaurant overlooking the harbor.

"It looks like a war zone," Smith told the Associated Press on Saturday, describing the scene in the coastal town near Boston where powerful waves dumped sand and rubble on roads and winds uprooted massive trees.

Maggie Carmany, general manager at Row 34 Restaurant in Boston's Fort Point neighborhood, said the area seemed to have recovered and the storm brought out the best nature in people.

"We have been in touch with everyone, 'Hey, are you guys open? Hey, can I help pump out the basement?'" she said. "The restaurant community has really been looking out for each other."

Lobster Stop owner Peter Dawson, 55, said he didn't lose power in his Quincy, Mass., store. But the storm hurt his normally lively "meatless Friday" business. "One of my big days during Lent is Friday, and the storm definitely hindered my Friday. I was $3,000 off."

Residents in other areas, meanwhile, bailed out basements and surveyed the damage while waiting for power to be restored, a process that power companies warned could take days in some areas. Power outages on the East Coast dipped by about 500,000 from a peak of 2 million earlier Saturday, but officials said lingering wind gusts were slowing repair efforts.

Authorities on Saturday reported two more deaths from the storm, bringing the total to at least seven in the Northeast. A 25-year-old man in Connecticut and a 57-year-old Pennsylvania man were killed when trees fell on their cars Friday.

The other five people killed included two children. A man and a 6-year-old boy were killed in different parts of Virginia, while an 11-year-old boy in New York state and a man in Rhode Island, both died. A 77-year-old woman died after being struck by a branch outside her home near Baltimore.

Floodwaters in Quincy, Mass., submerged cars, and police rescued people trapped in their vehicles. High waves battered nearby Scituate, making roads impassable and turning parking lots into small ponds. More than 1,800 people alerted Scituate officials they had evacuated, The Boston Globe reported.

Even states as far away as Florida will feel the effects: At least the first half of March is likely to bring more cool days than warm days in the Sunshine State, relative to average, because of the system, according to AccuWeather.

Contributing: Sophie Kaplan, USA TODAY