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U.S. storm buries the West in snow, while flooding the East

Click to play video: 'More winter storms on the way across Canada'
More winter storms on the way across Canada
WATCH: Most of Canada is finally being hit with winter weather, and more chilly conditions are in the cards. Global News meteorologist Anthony Farnell explains what to expect – Jan 10, 2024

A major storm slammed the northeast with rain, flooding and fierce winds, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands as part of a bout of violent weather that battered most of the U.S.

The storm, which started Tuesday night and was moving out Wednesday, washed out roads and took down trees and power lines. Wind gusts reached as high as 95 mph (153 kph) and more windy weather was expected throughout Wednesday.

It followed a day of tornadoes and deadly accidents in the South and blizzards in the Midwest and northwest. In some parts of the Pacific Northwest and the Rockies, more than 2 feet (about 75 centimeters) of snow fell.

Here’s how various areas are being affected by the storms:

New Jersey

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm. Many streets and roads were flooded and rivers were rising after some areas got up to 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain since Tuesday night. The rain fell on ground saturated by another storm a few weeks ago. Another storm is forecast for the weekend.

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Lou DeFazio, 65, of Manville, lives steps away from the Millstone River, which flooded disastrously in 2021 after the remnants of Ida slammed into the state and swerved riverbanks.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” he said as the river swelled Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'More winter storms on the way across Canada'
More winter storms on the way across Canada

Mark Nipps grew up in Manville and watched President Joe Biden’s visit to the town in 2021 that flooding wrecked dozens of homes. He left in large part because of the regular flooding.

“Mentally, every two years seeing your hometown devastated — that’s not good at all,” he said in a phone interview from his home outside Greenville, South Carolina.

Murphy said 56,000 homes were without power and several hundred accidents and highway assists were reported, but no storm deaths. He said people often ignore flood warnings, to their peril.

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“And we saw in the storm Ida, people pay with their lives by driving their cars into a street they shouldn’t have, or staying in their home when they shouldn’t have,” Murphy said in an interview with CBS New York.

New York

In Long Island’s Nassau County, cars sloshed through water in the streets of Freeport. Farther east, near the Hamptons, the National Weather Service reported major flooding out of Shinnecock Bay. Several schools across Long Island were either canceling or delaying classes as a result of the storm.

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New York City officials evacuated nearly 2,000 migrants housed at a sprawling tent complex before the storm hit amid fears it could collapse in high winds.

Photos showed the migrant families sleeping on the floor of a Brooklyn high school, whose students were forced to go remote on Wednesday as a result of the brief relocation. The migrants returned to the tent complex around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday after the winds had subsided, officials said.

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Pennsylvania

A couple of Pennsylvania communities got more than 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain, and others came close. Emergency responders rescued some drivers as roads flooded in low-lying areas, and downed trees and wires cut power to thousands of customers.

Forecasters said several rivers in eastern Pennsylvania saw at least moderate flooding. Another storm bringing as much as 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain Friday night through Saturday would exacerbate flooding and bring very strong winds, officials said.

New England

A dam breach in Bozrah, Connecticut, prompted mandatory evacuation orders Wednesday for several areas along the Yantic River, Norwich officials said. A power company shut down a substation along the river, leaving about 5,000 homes and businesses without power.

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The storm canceled events and government functions in Maine, where some areas were still recovering from a snowstorm over the weekend and flooding the previous month.

Winds gusted to 95 mph (153 kph) at Maine’s Isle au Haut, an island in Penobscot Bay, said Jon Palmer from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. At the state’s largest airport, high winds pushed an empty passenger aircraft into a jet bridge Portland Jetport officials said Wednesday. No one was hurt.

Click to play video: 'Powerful winter storm hammers Dallas Road in Victoria'
Powerful winter storm hammers Dallas Road in Victoria

At parking lot near Widgery Wharf on the Portland’s waterfront, lobstermen attempted to turn back some of the flooding using pumps.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills encouraged residents to stay off the roads amid flash flood warnings.

“Please be sure to give plow trucks, utility crews, and emergency first responders plenty of space as they work to keep us safe,” she said.

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In Vermont, the storm brought wind gusts of up to 70 mph and heavy, wet snow followed by rain, leaving nearly 30,000 homes without power Wednesday morning. Many schools were closed or had delayed openings.

Midwest

Slushy highways led to fatal collisions in Wisconsin and another in Michigan.

The storm, which began Monday, buried cities across the Midwest, stranding people on highways. Some areas saw up to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow on Monday, including Kansas, eastern Nebraska and South Dakota, western Iowa, and southwestern Minnesota.

Madison, Wisconsin, expected much as 9 inches (23 centimeters) of snow and 40 mph (64 kph) winds.

The weather has already affected campaigning for Iowa’s Jan. 15 precinct caucuses, where the snow is expected to be followed by frigid temperatures that could drift below zero degrees (minus 18 Celsius).

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Forecasters warned snow-struck regions of the Midwest and the Great Plains that temperatures could plunge dangerously low because of wind chill, dipping to around minus 20 (29 Celsius) and even far lower in Chicago, Kansas City and some areas of Montana.

South

Several deaths have been blamed on storms that struck the area with heavy rain, tornado reports, hail and wind. Survey teams were heading out Wednesday in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to determine whether tornadoes struck, National Weather Service officials said.

An 81-year-old woman in Alabama was killed when her mobile home was tossed from its foundation by a suspected tornado. A man died south of Atlanta when a tree fell on his car. Another person died in North Carolina after a suspected tornado struck a mobile home park.

Roofs were blown off homes, and furniture, fences and debris were strewn about during the height of the storm in the South.

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Click to play video: 'Winter storm brings snow and rain to southern Ontario'
Winter storm brings snow and rain to southern Ontario

Many areas of Florida remained under flood watches, warnings and advisories early Wednesday amid concerns that streams and rivers were topping their banks. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who gave his State of the State address Tuesday with tornado warnings in effect, issued an executive order to include 49 counties in North Florida under a state of emergency.

Rescuers in Virginia pulled two people from floodwaters, where they clung to branches after their vehicle flooded and they were then swept from its roof, according to the Albemarle County Fire Rescue. They weren’t injured but were in the water for at least 10 minutes, according to spokesperson Abbey Stumpf.

West

Storms in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains dumped snow, including 29 inches (74 centimeters) at Stevens Pass in Washington and 30 inches (76 centimeters) outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to the National Weather Service.

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Authorities issued warnings for very dangerous avalanche conditions in mountainous areas of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington and Oregon. Backcountry travelers were advised to stay off steep slopes and away from the bottom of steep slopes.

In areas of northern Montana, temperatures could drop below minus 30 degrees (minus 34 Celsius) by Saturday morning. High temperatures were expected to remain below freezing as far south as Oklahoma.

McFetridge reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield, in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Matthew Brown in Billings, Montanan, contributed to this report.

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