U.S. eastern freight moves battered by storm

WASHINGTON — While any Canadians planning on flying into the eastern U.S. are being grounded by winter storms, freight heading in the same direction will have a hard time getting to its destination.

The northeastern U.S. is experiencing its second winter storm in a week and according to media reports, the the U.S. National Weather Service is predicting about 14 inches of snow in New York and Washington, 20 inches in Baltimore and 19 inches in Philadelphia.

All that snow would be in addition to the 18 to 32 inches of snow that blanketed the region from Washington to southern New Jersey last weekend, and a new record for most snowfall for the season in Washington and Baltimore.

The blizzard has caused havoc to flight schedules, with hundreds of flights being cancelled at airports in the Washington area, Philadelphia, New York City and as far west as Chicago.

As well as people, freight can’t seem to get anywhere near the area either.

The blizzard conditions have made roads impassable, stranding many trucks along the way. Pennsylvania closed interstates 83, 78, and part of Interstate 81 around lunchtime yesterday and is expecting to close additional roads as conditions deteriorate.

"The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for several counties in Pennsylvania and visibility is at or near zero," said Governor Edward G. Rendell in explaining his action in closing the highways. "Motorists must stay off interstates 81, 83, and 78 until my administration lifts the restriction."

An example of how bad road conditions are, as a result, UPS Freight suspended the city operations at eight service centers in Pennsylvania, four in New Jersey, and one in New York. All linehaul operations throughout Maryland, Washington, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, York, Carteret, Southborough, Maine, and Newburg, N.Y., were all suspended.

The Richmond, Va. mini-hub operation was also shut down and freight was diverted to Greensboro, N.C.

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