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Dec 14, 2007

Next wintry blast 'much more powerful'

Residents in the Northeast were digging out of a major snowfall Friday and the midsection of the country was still without power after a deadly ice storm as both regions prepared for another major wintry blast.
As the ice storm moved east from the Midwest it changed from ice to snow and dropped anywhere from 2 inches to a little more than a foot across the Northeast region on Thursday.In places like Binghamton, N.Y., the snowstorm brought between 6 and 10 inches of snow, closed schools and businesses and is being blamed for a traffic fatality in the area.
And more snow is on the way for the region.It's going to be pretty ugly," said Tom Moore, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel. "The next storm is much more powerful, windier, messier."
The National Weather Service in Binghamton predicts that up to 7 more inches could be on the ground by Sunday, left behind by the Nor'easter that should arrive late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
The snow is expected to be heavy on Sunday. Snow could mix with sleet in northeastern Pennsylvania, but a foot of snow or more is possible where the precipitation remains all snow, the weather service said.
Ithaca, N.Y., had up to a foot of snow Thursday and predictions of near-blizzard conditions by Sunday morning had people scrambling to get ready.
While the snow in the Northeast didn't cause the same problems as it did in the middle of the country, it made travel difficult. Flights were delayed or canceled and the heavy snow snarled traffic with fender-benders from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. Most schools canceled classes.
In Massachusetts, commuters spent hours in gridlock on roadways.
On Friday Gov. Deval Patrick defended the state's response to the heavy snowfall.
Patrick said he advised state workers to leave for home no later than 11:30 a.m. Thursday, and private businesses were encouraged to send employees home early too.
But the governor said he suspected many workers waited until snow already was falling. As a result, roads became clogged with slow-moving traffic, making snowplowing difficult.
Thursday's storm left 6 to 10 inches of snow across much of Massachusetts, and up to a foot south of Boston.
Some drivers abandoned cars, while others waited at highway rest areas for the traffic to clear.
The storm brewing in the Rocky Mountains was expected to bring between 2 and 6 inches of snow to parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, said Ken Harding, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, Kan. The weather service issued winter weather watches for the northwest two-thirds of Oklahoma from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning.
The system could complicate restoration efforts to the some 500,000 homes and businesses in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri still without power after the first storm darkened 1 million customers at its height earlier this week.
In Missouri, the weather service said two waves of snow Friday night and Saturday could dump up to 7 inches of snow.
The storm that hit the nation's midsection earlier was blamed for 35 deaths, mostly in traffic accidents.
In Oklahoma, many emergency shelters already were filled, with some residents on their fourth or fifth day of waiting for power to return. Kim Harrel has been staying at an American Red Cross shelter in downtown Tulsa since Monday.
"It's a very humbling thing in life," Harrel said, watching her kids play a game of Twister in the gymnasium on Thursday.
More than a foot of snow was predicted for places in Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania.
"It's a pretty wild storm,"Moore said. "There will be a lot of very strong winds in coastal New England and Cape Cod. It will wreak a lot of havoc."
David Rose expects to be one of the few beneficiaries of the snow.
Rose owns an auto body and repair shop.
"We'll have a lot of collision repair, batteries, tires and a lot of things people realize they needed, wipers for the snow," said Rose, whose shop is in Columbia, Conn.