By Amy Taxin and Mark Pratt
Heavy snow bookended the United States on Tuesday, with a late-season storm bringing a messy morning commute to the Northeast and leaving California residents to dig out, or in some cases simply wait for help, after yet another storm.
Schools across southern New England either closed for the day or delayed opening as the most significant snowfall of what has been a mild winter hit overnight. As much as 7 or 8 inches of snow blanketed some communities by sunrise.
Most flight cancellations or delays were concentrated in the Northeast. There were over 470 flight cancellations in the U.S. and more than 900 delays by midmorning, according to FlightAware.com.
A winter storm warning covered parts of the Northeast, including Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island, with heavy snow forecast through Tuesday afternoon.
The snow complicated the morning commute, but few major problems were reported on Boston-area highways. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, however, reported power losses that affected signals on multiple lines and stations. Even after power was restored, residual delays were expected, the MBTA tweeted.
A crash involving tractor-trailers on Interstate 91 in Connecticut caused minor injuries. The highest snowfall totals were 6 to 7 inches in the northern part of the state.
“I strongly encourage everyone in Connecticut to stay off the roads on Tuesday morning unless absolutely necessary,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.
Two to 5 inches of snow fell across New York City, depending on the borough. Parts of Manhattan barely got any, and instead of sticking on heavily trafficked streets and sidewalks, it turned into a mushy mess during the morning commute. In the Bronx and Brooklyn, there was enough snow that residents had to brush off cars and shovel sidewalks.
The Albany, New York, area saw less snow than expected — 2 to 5 inches — but enough to close schools.
Michigan again fought a battle with ice after a new storm that hit Monday left thousands of customers without power in the central part of the state. To the southeast, around Detroit, some customers still lacked power for a sixth day after a previous ice storm.
At the other end of the country, California dug out yet again.
San Bernardino County, east of Los Angeles, declared a state of emergency amid the latest snow event after many mountain residents were trapped in their homes over the weekend. Heavy snow stranded hundreds of motorists at higher elevations, KTLA-TV reported.
Dozens of elementary school children were stranded at a science camp in Crestline for nearly a week, but buses escorted by the state highway patrol eventually evacuated them, the TV station reported. The county fire department used “specialized snow vehicles” to reach people who need critical medical care.
The new series of storms arrived even as parts of California were still digging out from last week’s powerful storm, which added to a massive snowpack left by a siege of “atmospheric rivers” in December and January.
A cold weather alert was declared for valley and mountain areas north of Los Angeles as overnight temperatures were expected to plunge below freezing for much of the week. Shelters were opened for residents without access to warmth.
While the mountainous areas around Los Angeles tried to dig out, rain fell on lower elevations of California, near the Pacific Coast. Storms were to continue moving through the state until the end of Wednesday. Blizzard warnings were in effect in the Sierra Nevada range in California and Nevada.
An avalanche warning was issued for the backcountry around Lake Tahoe, where up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow was expected over the next two days in the upper elevations and gale-force winds could create waves up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) high on the lake, the National Weather Service said.
State offices across northern Nevada, and the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, shut down.
The northbound side of Interstate 5, the West Coast’s major north-south highway, closed amid the weather and was littered with disabled vehicles about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the Oregon line. Interstate 80 was closed due to blizzard conditions.
Associated Press journalists around the country contributed to this report.
UPDATES: New approach focusing on California and separating the story into sections by region. Updates flight cancellations and delays. Deletes outdated material.