A fierce weekend storm that left record snowfalls and stranded travelers up and down the coast from Virginia to New England turned out not to be as naughty as many had feared by Sunday — and its nicest accomplishment may simply be leaving many with the prospect of a very white Christmas.
Maine was spared much of the storm’s punch, but the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for coastal Hancock and Washington counties that was in effect until 6 p.m. Sunday.
Accumulations of 3 to 7 inches were expected in Ellsworth, Bar Harbor and Machias on Sunday afternoon, with the highest amounts along the immediate coast and over the outer islands. The snow was expected to taper off Sunday evening.
Elsewhere in the state, 2 to 4 inches were expected in Rockland late Sunday afternoon, 1 to 3 inches in Belfast, and little to no accumulation in Bangor and inland. Portland was expected to get 1 to 3 inches, according to the weather service.
A gale warning was issued along the coast from Stonington, Maine, to the Merrimack River, Mass., out to 25 nautical miles, and was in effect through 7 a.m. today.
On the cusp of the winter solstice, the storm dropped 16 inches of snow Saturday on Reagan National Airport just outside Washington — the most ever recorded there for a single December day — and gave southern New Jersey its highest single-storm snowfall totals in nearly four years.
The National Weather Service said the storm gave Philadelphia, which began keeping records in 1884, its second-largest snowfall: 23.2 inches. Even more was recorded in the Philadelphia suburb of Medford, N.J., at 24 inches.
Around New York City, the brunt of the storm hit Long Island, with whiteout conditions and 26.3 inches in Upton, a record since measurements began in 1949. Nearly 11 inches of snow fell on New York City, and the storm could be the worst the city has seen since about 26 inches fell in February 2006, National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Maloit said.
Airports in the Northeast that were jammed Saturday were working their way back to normal operations. About 1,200 flights at the New York City area’s three major airports remained canceled despite clear conditions on the runways.
By Sunday morning, one runway at Dulles International Airport in Washington was open, handling arriving flights, spokeswoman Tara Hamilton said. At Reagan National, crews were still moving “huge quantities of snow” in the hopes of opening the airport by midday.
Baltimore-Washington International Airport struggled to get back up to full speed, with some airlines still canceling flights. At Boston’s Logan airport, where it was still snowing Sunday morning, spokesman Phil Orlandella said flights have been “on and off.” Today looked to be a normal day, he said.
Philadelphia International Airport shut down Saturday night but began to reopen early Sunday. Spokeswoman Phyllis Van Istendal said operations would ramp up later in the day.
Al Wachlin, 70, lives in Philadelphia but grew up in Maine and was well prepared for the storm, with a truck and an attached plow. With a scraper in one hand and a brush in another, he worked to clear off his truck.
“This part of it’s great,” said Wachlin, who has lived in the city since 1960. “It’s the cleanup, the rutted streets where you go sliding into the intersection, that’s the whole problem.”