Winter Storm Riley Kills at Least 7 in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast; More Than 2 Million Lose Power


March 2, 2018

Since Friday morning, nearly 4,000 domestic flights have been canceled, and states of emergency were declared in Maryland and Virginia.



At least seven have been killed by Winter Storm Riley's strong winds, which brought down trees and power lines from North Carolina to Maine and knocked out power to more than 2.1 million homes and businesses.

Deaths have been reported in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, and Virginia, where two people were killed. Two of the victims – a 6-year-old boy in Chester, Virginia, and an 11-year-old boy in Putnam Valley, New York – were children.

The governors of Maryland and Virginia declared states of emergency due to the conditions. National Guard members were activated in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania to assist in the aftermath.



Since Friday morning, nearly 4,000 domestic flights have been canceled, mostly in the Northeast, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.

Amtrak temporarily suspended all service along its Northeast Corridor between New York City and Boston, and wind damage shut down one of the tracks along the Washington-Maryland corridor, AP reported. In eastern Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was closed Friday morning and part of the afternoon, the AP also said.

'Pretty Much Everyone ... Threw Up'

United Airlines Flight 3833 had a violent descent into Dulles Airport just after 7 a.m. Friday morning, and the turbulence made virtually every passenger sick.

"Very bumpy on descent. Pretty much everyone on the plane threw up," said a pilot in a report filed with the National Weather Service's aviation center.

The plane, a CRJ-200 that can hold about 50 passengers, took off from Charlottesville, Virginia, less than an hour before the landing, according to NBC Washington.

The pilots were reportedly close to also vomiting due to the extreme nature of the turbulence, the report also added. Despite the frightening landing, no injuries were reported, NBC Washington also said.

Widespread Wind Damage in D.C. Area

Trees and power lines were downed all across the mid-Atlantic, including the Washington D.C. area. Trees collapsed into roadways and onto homes, and some injuries were reported.  



A 100-year-old woman was rescued from her Kensington, Maryland, house after a tree fell through the roof and trapped her overnight Thursday, NBC Washington reported. She was pulled from the debris and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, the report added.

Federal offices were closed Friday because of the storm, and residents were urged to stay home.

Coastal Flooding, Massive Waves Hammer New England Coast

Along the New England coast, officials performed water rescues and responded to reports of wind damage as Riley intensified.   



As trees collapsed, they damaged or destroyed whatever was in their path – homes and vehicles included. In Brockton, Massachusetts, a 16-year-old was inside an SUV when a tree collapsed onto it, according to He was hospitalized as a precautionary measure, the report added.

"My first thought was my son because I knew he was in the car," Cynthia Creighton told WHDH.



Those living in coastal areas were urged to leave before it was too late. 

"Lives may be at risk for people who put themselves in harm's way," said the National Weather Service in a stern warning to residents along the coast.

Scituate residents who evacuate were asked to fill out an online form to let authorities know they left their homes and are not missing. More than 1,800 notified officials that they had left their homes, according to AP. 

Flooding extended north to the coasts of New Hampshire and Maine on Friday afternoon, flooding streets and some structures. Some schools were closed in southern Vermont Friday as officials tried to keep children home and out of the storm's damaging winds.

Travel Advisory Issued, Flights Grounded in New York, Jersey

As conditions worsened on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a travel advisory for areas north of New York City. The advisory limited travel for certain types of vehicles in some areas and Cuomo asked residents to stay off the roads if possible.

After three tractor-trailers overturned on the Mario Cuomo Bridge, formerly known as the Tappan Zee Bridge, officials banned all buses and trucks from traveling across the span until further notice, the AP reported.

Strong winds set adrift several barges carrying construction materials for the bridge, the Journal News reported. Two of the barges ran ashore near Alpine, New Jersey, and another fully sank near the Yonkers wastewater treatment plant. The others were retrieved from the Hudson River.



Nearly a quarter-million homes and businesses were without power statewide Friday afternoon, with most of those outages in southern portions of the state. Roads in New Jersey were in decent shape for most of Friday, but falling trees left behind plenty of damage in some areas.

Hundreds of flights were grounded by the storm Friday. John F. Kennedy International Airport saw more than 420 flights canceled by Friday evening.

LaGuardia Airport saw roughly 600 cancellations, according to the terminal's Twitter. A video posted on the social media site showed winds tearing what appears to be roofing or a covering off an American Airlines hangar at the terminal.

A spokeswoman for the airline told the AP there were no injuries or planes damaged, and the hangar is still structurally sound.

Officials at Newark Liberty International Airport tweeted there have been more than 480 cancellations. 


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