NEW YORK – Blowing snow and sleet glazed windshields and roads across the Northeast and the Midwest on Wednesday, messing up Valentine’s Day flower deliveries and wrecking couples’ plans for romantic dinners.
The storm grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closing of schools and businesses from Kentucky to Maine. Many of those stuck at home had no heat or lights because of blackouts that affected more than a quarter-million customers.
“I’m just trying to figure out where to take my wife for Valentine’s Day,” said Skip Daniels, the emergency management director in Sussex County, N.J.
At least 13 deaths were blamed on the huge storm system.
Blizzard warnings were posted for parts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine, where as much as 2 feet of snow was possible.
The storm’s cold, snow, sleet and rain made life difficult for Valentine’s Day messengers.
“Cold. Slippery. Nobody has their sidewalks sanded,” said Caroline Roggero at Rose Petal Florist in Newport, R.I. “They all want their delivery today.”
Some delivery drivers got stuck on the roads. Flowers delivered to offices were turned away because the businesses were closed. And customers had to change their orders to have flowers delivered to homes instead of places of work.
“We’re hoping people will understand we’re doing the best we can do,” said Pat Jarvis at Dwyer Florist in Northampton, Mass.
In upstate New York, more than three feet of snow fell in Herkimer County in the Adirondacks.
It was too cold and snowy even to make snow angels. Syracuse school officials had planned to try setting a world record for the most snow angels in one place on Thursday, but postponed the effort, citing the weather.