Snow continued to fall on the East Coast early Friday, a day after heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain slammed the region and power outages hit the Southeast, snarling road travel and forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights across the country.
At least 21 deaths were blamed on the storm that created hazardous commuting conditions. In New York, a 36-year-old pregnant woman was struck by a mini-plow and killed. Authorities rushed her to a hospital in Brooklyn where staff are attending to the unborn child.
The next go-round of bad weather began early Friday in some places — just in time to delay tens of thousands of deliveries of Valentine’s Day flowers.
The sloppy mix of snow and face-stinging sleet grounded more than 6,500 flights nationwide on Thursday and closed schools, businesses and government centers. About 1.2 million utility customers lost power as the storm moved from the South through the Northeast, dropping to about 550,000 outages, mostly in South Carolina and Georgia.
More than 1,000 flights were already canceled early Friday, according to the website Flightaware.com, which tracks flight delays and cancellations.
Washington, D.C., residents received 9 inches of snow Thursday, Westminster, Md., reported 19 inches, and Newark, Del., had 14 inches.
Philadelphia had nearly 9 inches, its fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season — the first time that has happened in the city since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. New York City received nearly 10 inches, and parts of New Jersey had more than 11.
Another storm was already showing signs of hitting parts of the Northeast between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. More than 6 inches of snow was expected to fall in parts of southeastern Massachusetts, according to MyFoxBoston.com.
The treacherous weather was blamed for nearly two dozen deaths, many of them in motor vehicle accidents.
In New York, Min Lin, 36, died after she was struck by a utility vehicle with a snowplow attached to it as it backed up outside a shopping center in Brooklyn. She was rushed by paramedics to a nearby medical center, where her nearly full term, 6-pound, 6-ounce baby was delivered via cesarean section, hospital spokeswoman Eileen Tynion said.
The baby was in critical condition in the neonatal intensive care unit, she said.
No immediate charges were brought against the snowplow operator.
Across the South, the storm left in its wake a world of ice-encrusted trees and driveways and snapped branches and power lines.
In Atlanta, which was caught badly unprepared by the last storm, schools announced even before the first drop of sleet fell Wednesday that they would be closed. Many businesses in the corporate capital of the South shut down, too.
The scene was markedly different from the one Jan. 28, when thousands of children were stranded all night in schools by less than 3 inches of snow and countless drivers abandoned their cars after getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours and hours.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory urged people to charge their cellphones and find batteries for radios and flashlights because the storm could bring nearly a foot of snow in places such as Charlotte.
“Stay smart. Don’t put your stupid hat on at this point in time. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your neighbors,” McCrory said.
The procession of storms and cold blasts — blamed in part on a kink in the jet stream, the high-altitude air currents that dictate weather — has cut into retail sales across the U.S., the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Sales dipped 0.4 percent in January.
In New York City, the decision was made to open schools on Thursday despite messy conditions on streets. New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Farina said “it’s a beautiful day out there,” during a morning news conference, according to the New York Post.
But the department’s decision to keep schools open brought a sharp response from Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
“Having students, parents and staff traveling in these conditions was unwarranted,” Mulgrew said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.