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Massive blizzard paralyses US northeast, 1 dead

A pedestrian makes his way through driving snow with a broken umbrella in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

A pedestrian makes his way through driving snow with a broken umbrella in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

A potentially record-breaking snow storm has brought the US northeast to a grinding halt and left one dead. Thousands lost power amid flight cancelations and a nuclear plant shutdown, as authorities declared an emergency situation in five states.

The blizzard, which has been dubbed ‘Nemo’, struck the west coast on Friday, dumping over 16 inches (40 cm) of snow in some areas. The storm clobbered New York during the night, leading to mass flight cancelations and the closure of roads, while across the northeast over 500,000 homes were left without power.

A man walks through a driving snow as snow arrives in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
A man walks through a driving snow as snow arrives in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
A woman takes a photo of a snow man that was erected at the fountain at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week in New York, February 8, 2013 (Reuters / Carlo Allegri)
A woman takes a photo of a snow man that was erected at the fountain at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week in New York, February 8, 2013 (Reuters / Carlo Allegri)

A 74-year-old woman was killed in the Massachusetts town of Poughkeepsie when a woman lost control of her car due to falling snow and knocked her down. She later died in hospital.

A state of emergency has been declared in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Maine with citizens being warned to stay indoors.

“This is a very large and powerful storm, however we are encouraged by the numbers of people who stayed home today,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told reporters. Fuel shortages have already been reported in a number of states as motorists queue at petrol stations to fill up in the face of a potential crisis.

Winds reached speeds of over 60km/h with forecasters expecting gusts of up to 97km/h as the storm’s intensity increases.

A snow plow blows snow in New York , February 8, 2013 (Reuters / Keith Bedford)
A snow plow blows snow in New York , February 8, 2013 (Reuters / Keith Bedford)
People make their way through snow in New York , February 9, 2013 (Reuters / Keith Bedford)
People make their way through snow in New York , February 9, 2013 (Reuters / Keith Bedford)

Meteorologists have said this could be the region’s worst snowstorm for decades and have warned that more snow is still to come on Saturday.

“We’re seeing heavier snow overspread the region from south to north,”
said Lance Franck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts, outside Boston. “As the snow picks up in intensity, we’re expecting it to fall at a rate of upwards of two to three inches [5-7cm] per hour.”

The massive blizzard has already triggered a number of accidents, among them a 19-vehicle pile-up in Maine that saw one person hospitalized.

Meanwhile in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a nuclear power plant has experienced automatic shutdown as a result of the snow storm. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission stated that the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant had lost power in the blizzard and stressed there was no threat to the public.

People walk past a church as snow arrives in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
People walk past a church as snow arrives in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
Workers shovel snow in Times Square in New York on February 8, 2013 (AFP Photo / Mehdi Taamallah)
Workers shovel snow in Times Square in New York on February 8, 2013 (AFP Photo / Mehdi Taamallah)

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‘Potentially historic’

The US National Weather Service warned that a combination of two weather systems could result in a “potentially historic” storm.

Meteorologists have predicted the storm could dump a total of 3 feet (90 cm) of snow with the potential to seriously disrupt transport schedules.

Meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground said that if the two storms combine it could bring about one of Boston’s most intense storms in history.

“When you add two respectable storms together, you’re going to get a knockout punch with this one,”
he said.

People make their way through snow in New York , February 9, 2013 (Reuters / Keith Bedford)
People make their way through snow in New York , February 9, 2013 (Reuters / Keith Bedford)
People walk through a driving snow as a worker clears a sidewalk in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
People walk through a driving snow as a worker clears a sidewalk in the Back Bay neighborhood on February 8, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

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