On Saturday, a late winter storm battered the northeastern United States with snow and winds that could reach a foot in height. It sent temperatures plummeting and made travel dangerous after it first struck the Deep South.
According to the National Weather Service, 7-12 inches of snow could be expected in New York and Pennsylvania's northern regions. Wind gusts up to 45 mph are possible. Although only a few inches of snow is expected in Philadelphia, residents were warned that blizzard-like conditions could occur at times. Later, a flash freeze may be possible due to rapidly melting temperatures.
Gale warnings were in place in coastal New Jersey, Delaware. There were gusts of 40-50 mph and forecasters warned of possible tree damage and power outages. Other areas were subject to a wind advisory.
Andrew Orrison, a meteorologist at the Weather Service Office in College Park Maryland said that moderate to heavy snow had fallen across "a rather large region" of the eastern United States. However, the storm was moving rapidly to the northeast.
He said that parts of the Tennessee Valley, central Appalachia, and New York had seen snow accumulations as high as 8 to 12 inches. Areas in Pennsylvania, New York, and northern New England would likely see similar amounts of snow before the storm left. On Saturday afternoon, snowfalls of 10 inches (25 cm) or more were reported in New York and Pennsylvania. Eastern Pennsylvania had received 6 inches (15 cm) of snow.
He said that the storm's intensifying low pressure was generating high winds and freezing any moisture on roads, making it dangerous to travel in icy conditions.
The state police stated Saturday afternoon that the crash involving 73 vehicles along a Pennsylvania highway resulted in multiple injuries. However, no life-threatening injuries were reported immediately. Trooper Megan Ammerman stated that the crash occurred shortly after 2:20 p.m. on Saturday in Cumberland County.
Other details and the cause of the crash were not immediately available. WCAU-TV reported temperatures in the region were in the low to mid-20s. This was well below freezing. Wind gusts of 30-40 mph caused reduced visibility.
As rain became snow, slick roads were also responsible for many crashes in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Multiple crashes involving cars sliding on snowy roads were reported to the New Hampshire State Police. Officials in Vermont warned of potential blizzard conditions, blowing snow, and the possibility that travel could be difficult to impossible due to the expected 14 inches (35 cm) of snow.
PPL reported that more than 10,750 customers were without power in eastern Pennsylvania and central Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon, but this number had fallen to 5,000 hours later. FirstEnergy reported 10,350 customers without power in Pennsylvania and New York, but this number was down to 7,650 by the end of the day.
On Friday and Saturday, the system brought snow and rain to many Southern states, including Alabama and Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Some parts of northern Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta saw snowfalls between 2 and 3 inches.
Many inches of snow fell on eastern Tennessee, causing delays of at least one day in the season opening of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. Knoxville's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade was cancelled. Additionally, several inches of snow in central Tennessee contributed to numerous crashes on interstate highways.
There were several St. Patrick's Day parades that were delayed elsewhere. These included events in Albany, New York and Erie, Pennsylvania. The Sunday parade in Philadelphia was still planned to take place. This year, the holiday falls on Thursday.