Travel treacherous as storm batters southern New England

Boston-01/07/2017-Snow fell in Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay as pedestrian made their way through the snow. John Tlumacki/Boston Globe(metro)
Snow fell in Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay as pedestrian made their way through the snow. –John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

BOSTON (AP) — A storm that wreaked havoc along the East Coast arrived in southern New England on Saturday, bringing blizzard conditions to some areas and making travel treacherous throughout the region. At least 20 vehicles were involved in a chain-reaction accident on a Connecticut highway, though no serious injuries were reported.

Forecasters were expecting up to a foot of snow in Boston, but Cape Cod and other parts of the south Massachusetts coast were in line for up to 2 feet of wind-driven snow and police implored residents to stay home and off the roads.

Officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport urged travelers to check with their airlines since numerous flights were canceled or delayed, many because of weather conditions elsewhere in the U.S.

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Long lines were reported at many supermarkets and hardware stores where residents were scooping up snow blowers and supplies such as ice melt and windshield wiper fluid.

At least three tractor-trailers and a tanker were involved in the pile-up on a snowy stretch of Interstate 91 in Middletown, Connecticut, early Saturday afternoon. Video released by state police on Twitter showed several damaged cars and a truck that appeared jackknifed across the roadway.

Middletown’s mayor said several people were treated for minor injuries at the scene and a few were brought to area hospitals.

Connecticut police said the crash was one of at least 115 around the state between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said during a mid-afternoon news briefing that numerous minor crashes had been reported around his state, but no major incidents. He said more than 3,000 pieces of snow removal equipment had been deployed on major roadways.

“The driving conditions are unsafe,” said state highway director Tom Tinlin. “We are talking about the potential for white-out conditions, close to zero visibility.”

The storm in Boston was expected to be the largest since the winter of 2015, when a record-breaking series of storms crippled the Boston transit system.

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Baker, who visited the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s operations center Saturday, said the state had spent more than $100 million to winterize the system. Trains equipped with snow plows and de-icing chemicals were being used to keep tracks clear during the storm.

A blizzard warning remained in effect through 3 a.m. Sunday for Plymouth County and Cape Cod. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reported that four inches of snow fell in a single hour on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Snow and sleet impacted the East Coast from the deep south to the Northeast, causing dangerous driving conditions, disrupting air travel and knocking out power to many homes.

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