Third nor'easter in 2 weeks knocks out power to thousands

A tree leans against power lines in Raynham, Tuesday, March 3, 2018. (WJAR)

The third major nor'easter in two weeks knocked out power Tuesday to thousands of homes and businesses in Southern New England.

National Grid reported that about 9,100 customers in Rhode Island and about 1,600 more in Bristol County, Massachusetts, were without power as of 11 p.m. Eversource said about 155,000 homes and businesses in eastern Massachusetts were also without power.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for much of the Massachusetts coast and a winter storm warning for most of New England. The weather service said blizzard conditions were met in Newport, Falmouth, Hyannis, Plymouth and Boston.

Gov. Gina Raimondo urged Rhode Islanders to stay home and off the roads. Tractor-trailers were banned from Rhode Island highways until 8 p.m.

Raimondo said the strategy of keeping big rigs off the roads was working. State police said about a dozen minor crashes were reported around the state, but no one was hurt.

"So far, it’s been very smooth," the governor said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "We have had very few accidents, no injuries."

Peter Alviti, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, told NBC 10 News that the state had hundreds of pieces of DOT and contractor equipment clearing the roads.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker also urged the public to stay off the roads and to use public transportation if travel is necessary.

He also urged people to check on their neighbors, especially seniors and those with disabilities or medical conditions.

"Three nor'easters in less than 2 weeks isn't easy on anyone -- and we are extremely grateful for the hard work of our first responders, utility and road crews, and municipal officials who have been working nonstop to clean up after these powerful storms," Baker wrote on Twitter Monday night.

The storm lasted through most of the day Tuesday, disrupting road, rail and air travel.

The flight-tracking site FlightAware already is reporting more than 1,300 canceled flights within, into or out of the U.S. on Tuesday.

Amtrak suspended service from Boston to New York's Penn Station for the entire day. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority advised commuters that it was running an "extremely reduced schedule" for all commuter rail lines. The T said subway lines were running reduced frequency, similar to a Saturday schedule.

Most flights into and out of T.F. Green Airport were canceled. RIPTA said it would suspend all service, including RIde, at 3:30 p.m. The Block Island Ferry canceled all service for Tuesday.

The Providence Performing Arts Center announced that Tuesday night's performance of "An American in Paris" was canceled. Ticket holders can call the box office at 401-421-ARTS for tickets to another performance.

Several schools across the region announced they would be closed on Wednesday.

"I feel that we haven't really seen this type of storm since 2015," Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a Monday night news conference. "We've had storms in '16 and '17 and a couple this year, but it seems like this one is gonna be a big one."

Maine also is bracing for a hard hit. The Portland International Jetport has had 75.5 inches (1.9 meters) of snow, far above the normal for the date of 51.8 inches (1.3 meters) with another 12 to 18 inches is on the way, said James Brown, of the National Weather Service.

In New Hampshire, where as much as 14 inches of snow is forecast, the storm is wreaking havoc with the age-old town meeting tradition. But Secretary of State William Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald said under state law, town meeting elections must go on.

More than a foot of snow is expected in parts of Connecticut, where Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is urging people to "take it slow and remember their winter weather driving skills."

In New York, heavy, wet snow is forecast for Long Island, which could get 5 to 10 inches of accumulation, while 2 to 4 inches are possible in New York City.

In New Jersey, the storm is expected to start out as light rain before changing over to all snow by early Tuesday, leaving behind up to 4 inches.

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