Record amounts of wet snow gave much of the East a rare white Thanksgiving, causing headaches for holiday travelers and frosting the oversized balloons in the Macy’s parade with New York City’s first Thanksgiving snowfall in 51 years.
The storm tracked north along the East Coast Wednesday night and Thursday.
“All sorts of records, tons of records” were broken, said Harry Woodworth, a weather service meteorologist in Newark, N.J., where nearly 6 inches fell in less than 24 hours, breaking the Thanksgiving record of 4 inches set in 1938.
Atlantic City also got a record 6 inches, and 4.7 inches, another daily record, fell in New York City, the National Weather Service said.
Philadelphia also set records with 1.8 inches Wednesday night and 2.8 inches Thursday.
It was only the fifth time in 65 years that measurable snow fell in Boston on the holiday. The snowfall, at least 4 inches, was the heaviest on record for Thanksgiving there since 1925.
The snow piled deeper outside major cities, accumulating to 7 inches in Solomons, Md., and on Long Island and to 8 inches in Mays Landing, N.J., just inland from Atlantic City.
Most New York-area fliers already were at their destinations by the time the snow hit, said Sgt. Dominick Evangelista of the Port Authority, which oversees Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark airports.
High wind at Macy’s 63rd annual Thanksgiving Day parade in New York grounded the larger-than-life Snoopy and Bugs Bunny balloons. The snow was the first to hit the parade since 1938.
“It’s a white Thanksgiving!” cheered Nora Deledansky, 12, one of an estimated 1.8 million shivering spectators.
Despite the record snowfall in Philadelphia, its 70th annual Thanksgiving Day parade came off, but not without a hitch. The 55-foot Humpty Dumpty balloon had a great fall when it was punctured by a light standard.
New Englanders hauled out shovels and plows as swirling snow canceled holiday high school football games and slickened highways clogged with hungry travelers.
Winter storm warnings in the Middle Atlantic states were all canceled during the morning, leaving most people plenty of time to dig out the car and get to their destinations in time for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
The storm caught weather forecasters by surprise. At least 1 inch of snow cloaked southern Maine and New Hampshire, while at least 8 inches hit Cape Cod and Providence, R.I. Up to 9 inches was recorded at Nantucket, Mass.
The snow was blamed for at least three deaths.
Police in North Kingstown, R.I., blamed the snow for an accident that killed a Jamestown man. Thomas Jacquard, 18, was killed when his car crossed into the opposite lane of traffic on Route 4 and struck an oncoming vehicle.
Four inches of snow, the season’s first significant snowfall in the Washington, D.C., area, sent a car spinning out of control and into the path of a van in suburban Fauquier County, Va., Wednesday night. Lucinda Fuerle, 44, and Allison Fuerle, 14, of Monroeville, Pa., were killed, police said.