Second Storm Causes More Disruptions on East Coast

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

A second snowstorm hit the East Coast on Friday as it was still digging out from the last blizzard, causing widespread new disruptions but sparing the region the harsh battering originally predicted.

“It’s a fast-moving storm and it will probably be out of the entire region by midnight or so,” said Mike Palmerino, senior meteorologist at Weather Services in Lexington, Mass.

Much of the East Coast closed down anew, fearing a repeat of last weekend’s blizzard with its snowfalls of up to 30 inches. The government reclosed its doors after opening just one day this week. Schools closed in Washington and Philadelphia, and Washington airports were shut most of the morning.


But the storm ended in Washington by midday after leaving 3 inches of snow, and dissipated into rain in Philadelphia and New York before moving northward to Boston and New England.

Earlier Friday, the storm swept over North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other states that were hit by “the blizzard of ‘96” Sunday and Monday.

More snow fell across the Ohio Valley into Tennessee and across the central Appalachians as the storm whacked the East Coast.

Up to 10 inches fell in the highlands of southwest Virginia, western Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with up to 6 inches east of the mountains from Virginia through central and eastern Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Freezing rain fell across much of central and eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia, leaving some accumulations of ice.

By afternoon, the snow changed to rain or freezing rain throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, most of Delaware and southern New Jersey and New York.


Thunderstorm winds topped 100 mph in the vicinity of North Carolina’s Emerald Isle, destroying three houses and damaging at least 10 others. No injuries were reported.

West of the Mississippi River, things mainly were calm as high pressure dominated the region.

However, it was windy along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains from Montana into Colorado.

The normally windy locations have seen gusts occasionally more than 50 mph, with a peak gust at Livingston, Mont., of 77 mph. Casper, Wyo., reported a gust of 41 mph.

Elsewhere, conditions remained unseasonably dry and mild, with temperatures into the 80s and low 90s in parts of Southern California. The National Weather Service expected temperatures in Los Angeles to reach 85 degrees. Even Denver was warm.

Since the weekend, snow has led to more than 85 deaths from North Carolina to Maine, officials said, including many heart attacks brought about by shoveling. A Manhattan woman apparently died Friday of carbon monoxide poisoning while sitting in her car to keep warm with the motor running and the exhaust pipe clogged with snow.


President Clinton on Friday declared New York and Delaware snow disaster areas, and may eventually give a total of nine states the same status, a U.S. official said. Maryland and Washington were named Thursday.

James Lee Witt, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Pennsylvania and West Virginia had requested disaster status, and similar requests were expected from New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.

At a news conference, federal officials also promised Coast Guard ice-breaking equipment for New York harbor, and trucks and plows for Washington, where many streets remain impassable because of last weekend’s snow.

Travel by any means remained difficult in the Northeast. Washington airports were closed for part of the morning but had resumed operations--albeit with many delays--by afternoon.

Other Northeast airports, including those in New York City, reported delays of up to 4 hours.

Transportation officials also reported delays across the region. Several highways were closed in northern New Jersey after multiple-car accidents on the slick roadways, officials said.


The past week’s snowstorms will cost the New York City government about $37 million, a spokeswoman for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani estimated.