DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It's not exactly the kind of weather for motorcyclists here in the throes of Bike Week with temps dipping into the low 6-0s, but that's far better than the snow that has blanketed the Northeast with some states like Massachusetts buried in 20 inches with white-out conditions partly to blame for three deaths, including that of a 16-year-old New Hampshire girl whose car skidded off the roadway and slammed into a tree -- killing her.
Thousands of flights since Monday have been cancelled and virtually every school from Ohio to New York, New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware were closed and expected to remain that way possibly for the rest of the week as folks dig out.
Craig Buth, a former Daytona cop, who rose to the rank of lieutenant before retiring on Dec. 31, 2011, was not letting the blizzard get him down in his winter wonderland outpost in Jaffrey, NH, where he has settled in and last year got engaged.
"I'll take a blizzard over a hurricane any day! Love New Hampshire! !!!" Buth, 50, wrote on his Facebook page earlier this afternoon, to which one of his former cop buddies responded with sarcastic wit, "Ah yes, the Switzerland of America."
The powerful nor'easter fell well short of the predicted snow totals in New York and Philadelphia, but unloaded 1 to 2 feet in many places inland, grounded more than 6,000 flights and knocked out power to nearly a quarter-million customers from Virginia northward, the Associated Press reported.
By the time it reached Massachusetts, it had turned into a blizzard, with near hurricane-force wind gusting over 70 mph along the coast and waves crashing over the seawalls, according to the AP. Up to a foot of snow was expected in the Boston area.
Here is a synopsis of the winter storm as described by the AP: The storm closed schools in cities big and small, Amtrak suspended service and the post office halted mail delivery.
Philadelphia and New York City got anywhere from a few inches of snow to around half a foot before the storm switched over mostly to sleet; forecasters had predicted a foot or more. In New Jersey, which saw rain or just a little snow in many areas, Gov. Chris Christie called the storm an "under performer." But officials warned of dangerous ice. Inland areas, meanwhile, got hit hard. Harrisburg, Pa, and Worcester, Mass., received a foot or more of snow. The Binghamton, NY, area got over 2 feet, while Vernon, NJ, had at least 19 inches.
In Narragansett, RI, high winds buckled a state-owned wind turbine. In New York City, two homes under construction collapsed near the waterfront in Far Rockaway. No injuries were reported.
And two ponies broke out of their stables and roamed the snowy streets of Staten Island until an off-duty police officer wrangled them with straps normally used to tow cars and tied them to a lamppost. They were taken back to the stables.
"We want to thank our cowboy officer," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters in a press conference.