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 east coast on Friday, dumping up to 38 inches (96.5 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 640,000 homes were left without power.

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. The storm has been blamed for three other deaths in Canada.

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 hurricane-force gusts of up to 97km/h as the storm’s intensity increases.

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