BOSTON (Reuters) - A winter storm was expected to bring more than a foot (30 cm) of snow and howling winds to parts of southern New England on Monday, closing schools and government offices, snarling travel and flooding low-lying coastal areas.
Snow was falling in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire on Monday, with police and elected officials urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel. Wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour (100 kph) were expected in parts of coastal southeastern Massachusetts, raising the risk of downed trees and power outages, officials said.
Numerous highway crashes were reported throughout the region, including in Connecticut where a chartered bus headed to a casino rolled over on a busy interstate highway. Nineteen passengers, three of whom were critically injured, were transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment, the hospital said.
“We urge all those who must travel to use added caution, allow extra time to travel, and reduce speeds as conditions warrant,” said Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.
Travel was expected to remain difficult through the evening, officials said.
“The heavy snow that’s going to fall in southeastern Massachusetts, especially combined with those heavy winds, 50 to 60 miles per hour, raises some very significant hazards,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker told reporters.
Falling tree limbs killed two people including a 6-year-old girl in Canton, Massachusetts, during a Friday snowstorm. As much as 9 inches (23 cm) of snow was forecast for the Boston area.
Officials released photos showing water flowing onto streets in the communities of Hull and Scituate, south of Boston, and police through the region warned that coastal roads had been closed to prevent cars from being damaged or washed away by the heavy surf.
Winter storm warnings were in effect from New York through coastal Maine and officials in Philadelphia and New York said they would be sending police out to encourage homeless people sleeping outdoors to come in to city shelters.
One of every three flights was canceled at Boston Logan International Airport, according to Flightaware.com.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, church pastor Kent French, 48, had given up efforts to ride his bike over the snowy roads and was instead pushing it home.
“I was working in a local cafe,” French said. “It’s worse now than this morning. I don’t have the right tires for it.”
Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Andrew Hay