East Coast storm brings slippery, icy mess

Posted Jan. 19, 2011, at 3:21 p.m.

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Icy roads made travel tricky in some parts of the East Coast on Wednesday, a day after a storm brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the region.

Another weak system moving through New England may dust more snow in some places.

“Nothing major though,” said Eric Sinsabaugh of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

In eastern New York, scores of schools from the Albany area south to West Point delayed the start of classes Wednesday because of icy road conditions caused by freezing rain.

In Maine on Wednesday, the state’s Turnpike Authority reduced the speed limit on the turnpike to 45 mph in Augusta because of ice.

Tuesday’s storm iced over roads all the way down to Delaware and delayed flights for tens of thousands of weather-weary travelers. Cars skidded off roads. Hundreds of schools were closed.

Up to 10 inches of snow piled up in New Hampshire before the storm moved out early Wednesday.

A mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain pummeled Maine. Residents in the northern part of the state welcomed the snow, though, hoping it would open up more cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails.

Other ski areas prayed the snow would only add to a strong base on the mountains to allow for the opening of tree skiing.

“It’s really coming around,” Killington resort spokesman Tom Horrocks said of the season in Vermont.

More than 400 flights were canceled at New York’s three main airports, most of them at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International.

Police in central Massachusetts were investigating whether the storm played a part in a crash that killed two Rhode Island men near a tiny town named Douglas. Police said the snow had just started to fall when the men’s car hit a tractor-trailer.

Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said troopers were flooded with calls for help during Tuesday’s morning rush hour and had to deal with more than 70 collisions.

“The problem with every crash is that we had difficulty getting equipment to the crash site due to the volume of traffic and the slippery conditions,” Vance said.

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Rodrique Ngowi in Boston; Ula Ilnytzky in New York City; Pat Eaton-Robb in Columbia, Conn.; Erin Vanderberg and Jeff McMillan in Philadelphia; Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; and David Sharp in Portland, Maine.

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