A tenacious winter storm that stranded travelers, closed schools and snarled roadways as it swept from New Mexico to New England this week continued to bring hazardous weather on Friday, dumping a mix of snow, sleet and ice on parts of the Northeast.
Heavy snow of more than a foot fell in northern parts of New York and New England, with ice the primary concern farther south.
Prolonged bouts of freezing rain brought down tree branches and electrical lines in New York’s Hudson Valley. Officials set up overnight warming centers and declared a state of emergency in Ulster County, midway between New York City and Albany, the state capital.
The county executive, Pat Ryan, said that there were “near unprecedented numbers of tree limbs, trees and power lines down,” and that nearly half of the county’s residents were without electricity. New York City received rain but avoided the worst of the storm.
In places already hit by the storm, problems lingered into Friday. Schools and colleges in several states canceled classes, and drivers in Texas found themselves stuck in frigid temperatures overnight, after an eighteen-wheeler jackknifed on Interstate 10 in Kerrville, about 60 miles northwest of San Antonio.
At least two people sustained serious injuries, and one later died at a hospital, said Sgt. Jonathan Lamb of the Kerrville Police Department. Many others were stranded for about 10 hours. Authorities were able to clear the busy highway by Friday afternoon.
“It was just too sleek and too icy,” Sergeant Lamb said.
Gov. Greg Abbott called this week’s storm “one of the most significant icing events that we’ve had in the State of Texas in at least several decades.” Three to five inches of snow had fallen on some areas north and west of Fort Worth by Friday, according to the National Weather Service.
More than 3,700 flights in the United States were canceled on Friday, with the highest number at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport and La Guardia Airport in New York, according to FlightAware, a tracking website. That followed thousands of flights canceled earlier in the week, filling airports and nearby hotels with stranded travelers.
Up to an inch of sleet was expected late Friday in parts of northern Connecticut, southeastern Massachusetts and northern Rhode Island, while Portland, Maine, could receive up to two inches. In the Boston area and across southern New England, rain was forecast to turn into freezing rain, and then sleet, resulting in icy road conditions.
“That sleet is going to be a bit more difficult to clean up, because we’re not going to get much help from warm temperatures,” said Sarah Thunberg, a meteorologist with the Weather Service in Portland, Maine.
Buffalo, N.Y., and northern Vermont could see snow accumulation of up to 14 inches by Saturday, according to the Weather Service, with six to 12 inches expected across central New Hampshire.
By Friday afternoon, the storm had knocked out power to more than 300,000 homes and businesses, primarily in Tennessee, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.
Texas had fewer than 15,000 outages by Friday afternoon, bringing relief to residents scarred by the memory of an eight-day freeze nearly a year ago, when a widespread failure of the electrical grid plunged the state into darkness and claimed the lives of more than 240 people.
The impact of this week’s hazardous weather was also felt in Alabama, where a tornado killed one person near Sawyerville, south of Tuscaloosa, according to Russell Weeden, the director of emergency management for Hale County. He told local reporters that eight people had been injured, including three critically.
In Memphis, ice began accumulating from a continuous freezing rain on Thursday, leading to traffic crashes, downed trees and power outages on Friday. Ice storm warnings were issued farther east, including in parts of western Tennessee and Kentucky.
Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting from San Antonio, and Jesse McKinley from Albany, N.Y. Mike Ives and Jenny Gross also contributed reporting.