UPDATE 4-U.S. Northeast digs out from blizzard, tornado strikes in South

Reuters Middle East

* Boston schools close Monday as city deals with heavy

snowfall

* Rain, freezing rain and more snow in Monday's forecast

* Some 350,000 households across nine states still without

power

(updates with tornado report in Mississippi, and condition in

Maine and Vermont)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass./NEW YORK, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The U.S.

Northeast was digging out on Sunday after a blizzard dumped up

to 40 inches (one meter) of snow with hurricane force winds,

killing at least nine people and leaving hundreds of thousands

without power.

As the Northeast cleared roads and shoveled out, another

storm bore down on the Northern Plains and tornadoes threatened

the Southeast in a weekend of extreme weather across the United

States.

A tornado which appeared to be a mile wide touched down in

Hattiesburg, Mississippi, causing significant damage, said Anna

Weber of the National Weather Service. The twister also hit the

nearby town of Petal where it destroyed a brick building.

In New York City trucks plowed through residential streets,

piling snow even higher at the edges and leaving thousands of

motorists to dig out their buried vehicles.

Another round of severe weather on Monday could bring more

misery, with freezing rain and more snow predicted that would

make the evening commute even more difficult.

In Boston, Mayor Tom Menino canceled school on Monday after

touring neighborhoods throughout the city, where two feet (60

cm) of snow fell.

Utility companies reported that some 350,000 customers were

still without electricity across nine states after the wet,

heavy snow brought down tree branches and power lines.

Air traffic began to return to normal after some 5,800

flights were canceled on Friday and Saturday, according to

Flightaware, a flight-tracking service.

Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut,

and New York state's Long Island MacArthur Airport reopened on

Sunday morning. Boston's Logan International Airport reopened

late on Saturday, according to the Federal Aviation

Administration.

Rare travel bans in Connecticut and Massachusetts were

lifted but roads throughout the region remained treacherous,

according to state transportation departments.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, residents were digging out

their cars and driveways under clear blue skies on Sunday

afternoon.

As the region recovered, another large winter storm building

across the Northern Plains was expected to leave a foot (30

cm)of snow and bring high winds from Colorado to central

Minnesota into Monday, the National Weather Service said.

South Dakota was expected to be hardest hit, with winds seen

reaching 50 miles per hour (80 kph), which would create

white-out conditions. The storm was expected to reach parts of

Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

South Dakota officials closed a 150-mile (240-km) stretch of

Interstate 90 in the center of the state. They also closed 75

miles (120 km) of Interstate 29 in the state's northeastern

corner near North Dakota.

Officials said motels and other facilities along Interstate

90 were filling up with travelers trying to avoid the heavy

drifting and near-zero visibility.

"Travel will be difficult to impossible at times on other

highways in many areas of South Dakota," state transportation

officials said in a statement.

GREAT LAKES TO THE ATLANTIC

The mammoth storm over the weekend stretched from the Great

Lakes to the Atlantic and covered several spots in the Northeast

with more than 3 feet (91 cm) of snow. Connecticut, Rhode Island

and Massachusetts took the brunt of the blizzard.

The Connecticut town of Hamden had 40 inches (101 cm) and

nearby Milford 38 inches (96.5 cm), the National Weather Service

said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 675 pieces of equipment

and 975 personnel had been dispatched to help Suffolk County,

making up the eastern half of Long Island, dig out of 3 feet of

snow.

The storm "effectively shut down the entire region," Cuomo

said in a statement.

Amtrak ran a limited train service between New York and

Boston on Sunday and a regular Sunday schedule from New York to

the state capital in Albany.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it had

resumed limited service on Sunday afternoon and would return to

regular service on Monday.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and Connecticut

Transit said service would remain suspended on Sunday.

The storm dropped 31.9 inches (81 cm) of snow on Portland,

Maine, creating "whiteout conditions," said city spokeswoman

Nicole Clegg, 42. "It's the biggest I've seen since I was a

little girl."

Clegg said most city roads had been cleared by Sunday night,

and city employees were set to begin plowing Portland's "100

miles of sidewalks."

Winds gusted to 83 miles per hour (134 kph) at Cuttyhunk,

New York, and brought down trees across the region.

The storm contributed to at least five deaths in Connecticut

and two each in New York state and Boston, authorities said.

The two deaths in Boston were separate incidents of carbon

monoxide poisoning in cars, an 11-year-old boy and a man in his

early 20s. The boy had climbed into the family car to keep warm

while his father cleared snow. The engine was running but the

exhaust was blocked by snow, said authorities.

In Rutland, Vermont, the snow helped solve a crime, said

Rutland police Sergeant James Tarbell. After a burglar alarm

went off at a gas station in the small hours of the morning,

police found a broken window and discovered someone had stolen

cartons of cigarettes, said Tarbell.

A trail of footprints in the snow led the police to a nearby

street, where they found a 42-year old man shoveling snow.

"It was an ungodly hour to be shoveling snow," Tarbell said.

Police arrested the man and found A duffel bag full of

cigarettes on the front porch of the house.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Wisconsin, Tim

McLaughlin and Scott Malone in Boston, Kevin Gray in Miami,

Ellen Wulfhorst, Edith Honan and Chris Francescani in New York,

Ian Simpson in Washington, Jason McLure in Maine, Dan Burns in

Connecticut and Zach Howard in Massachusetts; Writing by David

Bailey; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan, Philip Barbara and

Christopher Wilson)

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