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CUs in Northeast closed for blizzard
BOSTON (2/11/13)--Northeast credit unions and leagues Friday were bracing for what turned out to be a record blizzard during the past weekend, as cold air traveling south from Canada combined with a storm moving northward from the Carolinas and brought more than three feet of snow to the region.

As of Saturday morning, five states--New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island--had declared state of emergencies and closed highways, with the Boston area at the center of the storm. Maine declared a partial emergency. The storm had dumped from 29.1 inches of snow in Commach, Long Island, N.Y., to 38 inches in Milford, Conn.  Portland, Maine, saw a record 29 inches. Credit unions and leagues in the states began closing Friday.

"We are getting quite a storm today," Rob Kimmett, senior vice president of marketing and public relations for the Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League and Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, told News Now Friday.

"We were closed Friday, but our staff has been continually monitoring e-mail and voice mail as they work from home. Most credit unions in the region closed around 12 noon," Kimmett said. He noted the storm was expected to intensify around 6 p.m. ET Friday in the Boston area.  "We expect that most, if not all, credit unions will be closed Saturday."

"Our credit unions knew this blizzard was coming and are prepared. It has been the top news item for the past three or four days. Although it has been a couple of years, anyone who has lived in New England for any length of time has seen a blizzard--2010, 2005, 2003 being the most recent storms that left more than 18 inches of snow," he said.

Parts of the area were still recovering from damage wreaked in October from another combination of storms, the huge Superstorm Sandy.

Last weekend's blizzard brought wind gusts up to 83 mph and had closed 6,333 flights at Boston's Logan Airport as of Saturday morning. It caused flooding along the Massachusetts coast as 15- to 20-foot waves pounded the coastal area. Roads were impassable due to snow, downed trees and stalled cars.

Six deaths were reported as of Saturday morning.  More  than 600,000 customers were without power in the region--with 400,000 in Massachusetts alone, according to the first reports (The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times Feb. 8).  Power outages hit entire towns and closed a nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Mass. The Times reported that snowflakes were as big as dollar bills.

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