Updated Apr 5, 2024 - Energy & Environment

Deadly Northeast storm disrupts travel and causes widespread outages

Satellite image of a powerful spring storm hitting the Northeast.

Satellite image of a powerful spring storm hitting the Northeast, with a comma-like shape. Image: CIRA/RAMMB

A powerful, deadly storm that's dumped several inches of snow across New England and other parts of the U.S. Northeast disrupted travel and caused widespread outages into Friday morning.

The big picture: Well over a foot of snow has fallen in parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Nearly 290,000 customers had no power in Maine alone, with nearly 116,00 in the dark in neighboring N.H. on Friday morning.

A screenshot of a tweet by NWS Gray, saying: "Early Spring Day in Maine!  The office has just passed 15" of snow for the storm and still snowing heavy.  There are trees down all over the place and its difficult to travel on any side road.  Don't travel if you don't have to as it is very dangerous at this moment! #nhwx #mewx"
By 8pm Thursday ET, 17.4 inches of snow had fallen in Gray, Maine, and nearly 20" had fallen in other parts of the state, according to the NWS. Photo: NWS Gray/X
  • The storm has been unusual for its intensity and placement so late in the year, with cold air allowing snow and ice pellets to be observed into Massachusetts.

Threat level: Winds were howling across multiple states, from the Midwest to Downeast Maine, and this, combined with wet snow, was bringing down trees and power lines throughout Thursday.

  • Falling trees were linked to at least four deaths in separate incidents in New York, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
  • Thousands of flights were canceled and over 600,000 people were without power across six states Thursday. By Friday morning, an estimated 388,000 still had no electricity, according to poweroutage.us.
  • "Stay off the roads if you can as tree limbs are still snapping!" warned the National Weather Service's office in Gray, Maine, via X on Thursday.

By the numbers: Winds have gusted to 73 mph in Wellfleet, Mass. on Cape Cod, 55 mph in Bar Harbor, Maine, and 57 mph in Rutland, Vermont.

Context: This is the same overall storm system that trekked across the country this week, bringing severe thunderstorms to the Central U.S. and Midwest.

  • The snow, combined with heavy snow that fell in some of the same areas last week, ensures that many people flocking to Burlington, Vt. and northern Maine to see the total solar eclipse will view it with an unusually wintry backdrop.

What's next: The deep upper-level trough will slowly move off the Northeast Coast over the coming days, per a Friday morning NWS forecast discussion.

  • But the associated low pressure system that's caused the massive dump of snow over parts of the Northeast "will linger around Downeast Maine over the next couple of days, spreading snow showers across the state and surrounding areas."

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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