Nor'easter along U.S. East Coast leaves widespread outages

A fierce nor’easter that flooded streets, snapped trees in pieces and knocked out power to more than 1.8 million homes and businesses continued to lash the Atlantic coast, but the winds were expected to slowly let up as the storm moved offshore.

Forecasters said rain and snow was expected to slowly come to an end early Saturday, hanging on across southern New England the longest.

Winds were expected to remain breezy from Washington to Boston, a day after they toppled tractor trailers and exceeded 80 km/h, with gusts of 128 km/h to 144 km/h on Cape Cod. At least five people were killed Friday by falling trees or branches.

Coastal Storm Massachusetts

Firefighters rescue a mother and child by boat after their residence was flooded along Post Island Road in the Houghs Neck section of Quincy, Mass., on Friday. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via AP)

Ohio and upstate New York got 30 centimetres or more of snow. Boston and Rhode Island expected to get 5 to 12 centimetres.

Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center in Maryland, said coastal flooding was expected to continue to cause problems in eastern Massachusetts and Boston, which could experience “a significant coastal flood event.”

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People carrying a cat flee a Sea Street apartment during flooding Friday in Quincy, Mass., which was pounded with hurricane-force winds. The storm has left hundreds of thousands of people without power from North Carolina to Maine. (Gary Higgins/The Quincy Patriot Ledger via AP)

The five killed during Friday’s storm 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 Newport, Rhode Island, both were killed. A 77-year-old woman died after being struck by a branch outside her home near Baltimore.

Floodwaters in Quincy, Massachusetts, 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.

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A worker cuts a tree that had fallen onto a house after the storm hit Kensington, Md. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker activated 200 National Guard members to help victims. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf was sending 90 guard members, primarily to assist communities in the Poconos Mountains where the deepest snow totals were recorded.

Flights cancelled

Airlines cancelled more than 2,800 flights, mostly in the Northeast. LaGuardia and Kennedy airports in New York City were brought to a near standstill.

Passengers had a rough ride aboard a flight that landed at Dulles Airport outside Washington.

“Pretty much everyone on the plane threw up,” a pilot wrote in a report to the National Weather Service.

President’s flight plan altered

U.S. President Donald Trump, who travelled to North Carolina for the funeral for the Rev. Billy Graham, was forced to fly out of Dulles instead of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where Air Force One is housed, because of high winds.

Meanwhile, police in New York reported that several barges broke loose in the Hudson River during the storm Friday. The barges were part of the construction project for the new Mario Cuomo Bridge, formerly known as the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Traffic stalled on Rhode Island bridge

Tractor-trailer trucks toppled in high winds on the Mario Cuomo Bridge, snarling traffic for hours, and on Rhode Island’s Newport Pell Bridge. The wind prompted officials to close several bridges in Rhode Island to commercial vehicles.

Amtrak suspended service along the Northeast Corridor, from Washington to Boston, until at least Saturday. In New Jersey, a tree hit overhead wires, forcing the suspension of some New Jersey Transit commuter service.

In the western New York town of Hornell, 30-year-old Anna Stewart milked the 130 cows on her dairy farm on Friday in a barn powered by a generator hooked up to a tractor. Stewart lost power the night before. Hornell got more than  35 centimetres of snow.

Wet, heavy snow

“The snow is pretty wet and heavy. It’s taken down a lot of lines,” Stewart said. “There’s more snow than I’ve seen in quite a few years.”

On the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown resident Andy Towle took video of a 50-foot fishing boat breaking free from its mooring and drifting dangerously toward the rocks.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” the 50-year-old resident said. “The harbourmaster was down there with police, and they didn’t know what to do.”

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