PORTLAND, Me. — Winter returned to the Northeast on Tuesday with 18 to 20 inches of wind-whipped snow that closed schools, knocked out power to at least 30,000 customers and snarled traffic.
Midwesterners, meanwhile, cleaned up after a major snowstorm.
"Everybody woke up and found winter was back," said Fred Ronco, a National Weather Service meteorologist here. "This is the biggest snowstorm of the winter in Portland. Not back in the mountains--it was here."
Gale warnings were posted from the Great Lakes to the southern New England coast, where gusts of up to 45 m.p.h. were reported. Johnstown, Pa., recorded a gust of 63 m.p.h., and Syracuse had gusts of up to 53 m.p.h.
A foot of snow covered the ground in Maine and New Hampshire, and in Vermont some areas reported 18 inches of snow.
"It's terrible," a state trooper in Northampton, Mass., said. "We've got a lot of cars off the roads. The roads are hazardous. We've got everything. It's icy in some spots, and then its snow-covered, and then it's slushy."
Ice dragged down power lines in Connecticut, knocking out power to 30,000 customers. Schools were closed in Maine and New Hampshire.
Two deaths were blamed on the weather in Connecticut, and the ice and snow storms in the Midwest were blamed for seven deaths, five in Minnesota and one each in Wisconsin and Illinois.
Flooding forced some residents of Ottawa, Ill., to head for high ground Tuesday, for the second time in a week, when the Fox River overflowed again.
No one was injured, but officials estimated that the damage to homes and property could surpass $1 million.
Two Airports Closed
In eastern South Dakota, where 30 inches of snow were reported Monday, 3,000 persons remained without power. The airports at Watertown and Pierre and many schools were closed.
South Dakota's major east-west route, Interstate 90, was open again after most of it was closed Sunday and Monday, and north-south I-29 from Sioux Falls to the North Dakota border was reopened early Tuesday, state police said.
About 21,000 Commonwealth Edison customers in the Chicago area remained without power because of downed lines.
Schools were closed across Minnesota, where 17 inches of snow buried the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said that the facility's 21-hour closure for snow Sunday and into Monday broke its previous record for a shutdown, set Dec. 27, 1982, at 14 hours.