Winter Storm Stella Dumps Nearly 5 Feet of Snow In Some Areas, Leads to At Least 16 Deaths

Pam Wright and Ada Carr
Published: March 16, 2017

Winter Storm Stella has moved out of the Northeast after dumping 3 to nearly 5 feet of snow in some areas, paralyzing several major cities, knocking out power out to half a million and crippling air travel for thousands.

A new top snow total was reported Thursday morning: The Bolton Valley Ski Area in the Green Mountains of northern Vermont east of Burlington reported a storm total of 58 inches of snow.

The powerful storm killed at least 16 people, grounded more than 6,000 flights and shut down several major cities, including New York City and Boston.

Airlines were working to return to normal operations Thursday.

Sixteen deaths have been attributed to the storm:

  • A 10-year-old boy died in Pendleton, New York, Wednesday after he became trapped in a pile of snow against a building, WIVB reports. The child was reportedly digging a tunnel into the pile when it collapsed on him.
  • Three people died in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III told the Republican Herald. The deaths include two men in Ringtown and an 83-year-old woman in Wayne Township. All three died of apparent heart attacks while shoveling snow.
  • A 23-year-old man was killed Wednesday in a crash on the ice- and snow-covered Interstate 78 in Upper Bern Township, Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press. 
  • A 47-year-old man died of a heart attack Tuesday while shoveling snow at his parents' home on Staten Island, reports WABC.
  • A man died of heart attack Tuesday after removing snow at his home in the Town of Newburgh, NY, police confirmed.
  • A 16-year-old was killed in New Hampshire Tuesday morning after crashing on a snowy roadway. According to AP, she was the daughter of a police department dispatcher.
  • In Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a Department of Public Works employee died Tuesday after the truck he was driving was struck by a plow train.
  • In East Hartford, Connecticut, an elderly man died after being struck by a snowplow Tuesday afternoon, police said.
  • In Canada, a driver of a tractor-trailer died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle pileup Tuesday in southern Ontario. 
  • The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner told CBS 58 that a 68-year-old man collapsed and died while shoveling snow in South Milwaukee on Monday.
  • A 76-year-old man on Milwaukee's north side collapsed and died Monday while removing snow.
  • A 78-year-old man died on the North side of Milwaukee, also after shoveling.
  • A 64-year-old man collapsed on Park Avenue in South Milwaukee and died.
  • Another Southside Milwaukee man died after snow blowing. He was 76.

New York 

Top Snow Total: 42 inches, West Winfield

The storm prompted Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency Tuesday for all of New York's 62 counties, including New York City. He also directed non-essential state employees to stay home from work, reports the AP.

Wednesday he announced that he is sending 100 large plows and 100 members of the National Guard to assist in snow removal in the state's southern tier region. 

The storm grounded more than 3,000 in the New York City area alone, stranding hundreds of passengers, and nearly all New York City mass transit systems had delays, suspensions and cancellations. Most returned to normal by Wednesday morning, although the Metro-North Railroad continues to operate on a modified schedule into and out of New York's Grand Central Terminal Wednesday as it recovers from the snowstorm, the AP reports.

Two homes under construction near the beach in the Far Rockaway section of Queens collapsed during the storm. No injuries were reported, the fire department told the AP.

Cherie Burke contends with blowing snow during a blustery storm, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Portland, Maine.
(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

New Jersey

Top Snow Total: 20.3 inches, Vernon

Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency Monday ahead of the storm. With plunging temperatures threatening to freeze roadways on Wednesday, Christie said he wanted the state to be prepared for the worst.

“I want the storm to be completely out of here before we lift the state of emergency,” Christie said.

(WATCH: Car Erupts in Flames in Snowstorm)

Roughly 1,000 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday night, according to AP. 

Parts of Atlantic City and other towns in southern New Jersey experienced significant tidal flooding. The tide reached 7.8 feet in Atlantic City Tuesday morning, just shy of the 8-foot threshold that can lead to major flooding. Route 322 in West Atlantic City was shut down, as were some smaller streets around the area, AP also reports.

A couple of wind gusts were clocked at 62 mph on the Jersey Shore, according to weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce. 

(MORE: What to Know About Stella)

Pennsylvania

Top Snow Total: 34.5 inches, Oakland

Icy conditions Wednesday caused a vehicle to slip off Route 1 near Creek Road and slam into a snow bank in Chads Ford Wednesday. Two people were injured, reports the AP.

On Tuesday, a 23-month-old child in need of a heart transplant was escorted on an 80-mile trip from East Stroudsburg to Danville by state snowplows and troopers through the storm, the governor said.

Several avalanches were reported, including one that shut down Route 92 in Wyoming County, according to emergency management. 

Massachusetts

Top Snow Total: 21.5 inches, Granville

A day after the storm, about 19,000 National Grid customers in Massachusetts remain without power, reports the AP.

Around 40 percent of departures and 17 percent of arrivals were canceled at Bradley International Airport as of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to masslive.com. 

"Passengers should check with their airline on their individual flight itineraries and rebooking options," airport officials said in a statement. 

Waves from the Atlantic Ocean pound into the seawall near high tide during a winter storm in Scituate, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 14, 2017.
(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

In Hingham, a family of four was displaced after a tree fell and smashed through the roof of their house, according to CBS Boston. No one was hurt in the incident.

In Longmeadow, a Department of Public Works employee died after the truck he was driving was struck by an Amtrak plow train, 22News reported. Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane told 22News the employee was clearing the road leading up to the tracks when the crash occurred.

Connecticut

Top Snow Total: 21 inches, Middletown

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy lfted a statewide travel ban in the state Tuesday afternoon, according to CBS New York.  He said state agencies would re-open for business Wednesday and credited the travel ban with helping crews remove snow on state roads.

The governor also said there were 38 wrecks during the road travel ban.

Hundreds of school districts are closed in the state or opening late Wednesday, according to NBC Connecticut.

Virginia

Top Snow Total: 8.1 inches, Winchester

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told the AP troopers responded to at least 150 crashes and disabled vehicles statewide. She says many of them were in northern Virginia. No serious injuries were reported.

Dominion Power reported more than 41,000 customers without power around the state, including more than 36,000 in the Richmond area.

People walk beneath snow-covered trees on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall during a winter storm Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston.
(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Rhode Island

Top Snow Total: 13 inches, Burrillville

About 8,500 National Grid customers found themselves without power Tuesday, and schools were closed throughout the state, reports the AP.

No one was hurt when high winds knocked over a state-owned wind turbine at a Narragansett beach.

Maryland

Top Snow Total: 11 inches, Sabillasville

Maryland State Police said troopers responded to 101 crashes, none serious. 

(MORE: Stunning Ice on Lake Superior)

At the height of the storm, more than 20,000 homes were without power.

Midwest

Before targeting the East, Stella wreaked havoc in the Midwest, killing two and causing hundreds of wrecks.

Nearly 70 vehicles were involved in collisions on Interstate 41 in Washington County Monday, WISN.com reports. There were five or six crashes in the southbound lanes, one of which involved 46 cars. Minor injuries were reported. 

Wisconsin officials also said 12 cars and five tractor-trailers were involved in a pileup Monday that occurred in the northbound lanes of I-43, WBAY.com reported. Three people had minor injuries, but no deaths were reported. The interstate was shut down between Highways 42 and 23 after the crash.

In Minnesota, more than 400 crashes were reported Sunday, one of which was a pileup that shut down Interstate 694 in Fridley.

In Iowa, snow-covered highways caused dozens of accidents in multiple counties, but no deaths were reported, according to the Associated Press.

More than 1.1 million Michigan DTE Energy customers lost power at the height of the storm.

MORE: Photos of Winter Storm Stella


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Ad Blocker Enabled

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.