More than 350,000 electric customers from Maine to Virginia were without power this morning, after a storm dumped a sloppy mix of rain and snow along the East Coast.
New Hampshire residents experienced the heaviest level of outages, with more than 180,000 electric customers there reported without power this morning. More than 78,000 customers in Maine lost power, along with 55,000 customers in New York.
The storm system grounded hundreds of flights and turned highways hazardous along the congested Washington-to-Boston corridor Wednesday, fouling up transportation on one of the busiest travel days of the year. Further travel issues are expected today.
The snow piled up from North Carolina to Maine, bringing down branches and power lines. Marin Murray, a spokesman with Public Service Company of New Hampshire, said the snow’s consistency – wet and heavy – along with little wind has contributed to the power outages.
“We do anticipate, unfortunately, that some of our customers will not have power likely for a couple of days,” Murray told ABC News. “It’s going to take that long to restore power to all of customers, unfortunately.”
Sara Willingham of Concord, New Hampshire, lost power at her home.
“I think all my food now is going to need to be thrown out,” she said.
Amid the heavy snowfall, some hospitals were forced to rely on backup generators.
Residents in the Midwest also experienced wintry weather Wednesday. The whipping winds in Des Moines, Iowa, sent snow sideways, and cars off the road.
Some travelers tried to change their plans and catch earlier flights to beat the storm Wednesday, and major airlines waived their rebooking fees. But most planes were already filled.
Numerous traffic accidents were reported across the Northeast Wednesday, where by midafternoon the line between rain and snow ran roughly along Interstate 95, the chief route between Washington and Boston.
Schools and businesses also closed in some areas, and state government offices let workers go home early.
Pat Green and her husband drove from Saugerties, New York, Wednesday to the Albany airport for the first leg of their trip to San Francisco. She said the drive on the New York State Thruway was “a little hairy,” but they made it.
“It was snowing so hard you couldn’t see the car ahead of you,” she said. “We slowed down so we were fine. We also give ourselves a lot of extra time.”
An estimated 41.3 million travelers are expected to hit the nation’s highways between Wednesday and Sunday, a 4.3 percent increase over last year, according to AAA.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
SOURCE: ABC News