Killer Snow Storm: 9 Deaths Blamed On First Blizzard Of 2014, Hercules

Hercules Snow
A man walking on 5th Avenue in New York. Reuters

Brutal Winter Storm Hercules continues to pile on snow in some areas of the Northeast U.S., and the frigid temperatures and harsh winds are to blame for at least nine deaths, the Associated Press wrote Friday.

A man in suburban Philadelphia was killed as the storm approached. The salt storage facility worker died when a 100-foot pile of road salt crushed him. Authorities said it’s not known what caused the accident, but the man reportedly became trapped while he was operating a backhoe.

Car accidents in Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois resulted in fatalities. One woman who had Alzheimer’s passed away in western New York. She reportedly wandered away from her rural home and froze to death.

According to the New York Daily News, one of the people killed was a truck driver in Indiana. The accident left 15 people on a bus wounded.

Some areas saw as much as two feet of snow, with Massachusetts being one of the hardest hit areas in the Northeast. Snowdrifts have been reported as high as three feet.

The Long Island Expressway and Interstate 84 in New York were closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Both New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency.

Airports were also closed because of Hercules’ wrath. John F. Kennedy airport in New York officially closed at 6 a.m., NBC News wrote, along with Logan Airport in Boston. It may be hours until the airports reopen.

The Weather Channel reported that Boxford, Mass., received the most snow, with 24 inches. New York City saw seven inches; Baltimore had three to six inches, Philadelphia had nearly five inches and Hartford, Conn., had varying snow accumulations from six to 10 inches. Massachusetts, however, saw the most snow overall with 20 inches in many parts of the state.

The snow isn’t the only problem with this storm. The freezing temperatures have made the weather dangerous. For New York City, the temperature will reach a “high” that just barely makes double digits. In the evening the temperature is expected to drop to 5 degrees Fahrenheit and will feel like it’s below zero.

“It’s deceptively cold outside. If you stay outside too long it could be dangerous,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference Friday morning.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cautioned New Yorkers to stay off the roads, if possible. "As this winter storm unfolds, bringing heavy snow and high winds to many parts of the state, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution, avoid travel and stay indoors," he said Thursday night.

Because of the high risk of frostbite and hypothermia, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick dismissed all state workers at 3 p.m. on Thursday. He said about the bitter cold temperatures: “That is a very, very dangerous set of circumstances.”

Though the snow seems to have stopped falling, the frigid winds remain. "We're going to see a lot of snow and a lot of wind," the Daily News quoted Jason Tuell, director of the eastern region of the National Weather Service. "We're concerned about whiteout conditions possibly tonight with the blowing and drifting snow.”

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