A double-barreled blast of winter Friday hit the Pacific Northwest and the East, knocking out power to thousands, disrupting flights, delaying or detouring commuters and bringing more worries to farmers.
Hundreds of fender-benders - and numerous traffic accidents - were reported in the East as motorists adjusted to snow for the first time this winter."The first storm is always a little confusing. It takes everyone a little bit of time to get acclimated," observed William F. Palmer, operations manager of the airport in Windsor Locks, Conn.
At least three deaths in Connecticut were described by authorities Friday as weather-related. Two men over age 60 suffered fatal heart attacks while shoveling snow, and a 17-year-old died when the car he was traveling in slid off the road and overturned.
In Ohio, a 7-year-old Springfield boy died Friday when a mound of snow fell on him as he played with a friend. In Washington state, a 47-year-old Vashon Island woman was killed when a tree fell on the car she was in.
Cold and stormy weather have been blamed for about 90 deaths nationwide since Dec. 18.
Seven inches of wet snow fell in New York City's Central Park just a few days after temperatures in the 60s made the record books.
In the Northwest, the brunt of the storm that arrived late Thursday for the most part bypassed Seattle and other major cities in western Washington. But chilling winds whipped the region from the Canadian border south to Puget Sound.
Utilities reported about 130,000 customers in Washington state were without power, as winds knocked trees and branches onto power lines.
In California, temperatures plunging into the teens and 20s have wiped out 80 percent of the navel orange crop for a loss of nearly $288 million in farming revenues, the state Department of Food and Agriculture reported. Navel oranges make up about half of the state's total orange crop.
In New Mexico, snow covered Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Gallup.
In the East, New York City's three regional airports reported delays of 45 minutes to an hour.
And New York's Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Commuter Railroad reported scattered weather-related train delays and cancellations.
Virtually all of Pennsylvania was blanketed with snow overnight. The south-central mountain counties got 10 to 16 inches.
Dense fog in much of Indiana created dangerous driving conditions for motorists Friday, a day after up to 10 inches of snow fell in parts of the state.
Some welcomed the wintry conditions.
In particular, ski resort operators found the snow to be a belated Christmas gift.
At Vernon Valley-Great Gorge ski area in northwestern New Jersey, four extra staffers were called in to sell tickets, said Lori Vovchansky, who works the courtesy desk there.
"Business is very busy today," she said. "We've had a lot of calls this morning. The switchboard is going off the wall."