By Daniel Lovering
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A snowstorm slammed coastal New England, including Boston, on Sunday and was heading for eastern Maine and Atlantic Canada, meteorologists said.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning on Sunday for Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket and surrounding areas, saying that gusty winds, low visibility and up to 8 inches of snow were expected.
If the storm had been further west, it would have caused a serious blizzard, but instead it was brushing extreme eastern New England, sparing areas like New York City and Connecticut, which were buried in a snowstorm earlier this month, said Mark Paquette, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.
"It will cause headaches, but it could have been a lot worse," Paquette said.
The storm in the Northeast is the same one that brought snow to North Carolina and South Carolina on Saturday, AccuWeather.com said. It's not expected to be as destructive as the deadly Northeast blizzard just over a week ago that brought hurricane-force winds and left hundreds of thousands without power. That's in part due to colder temperatures causing drier snow, which is less likely to stick to trees and cause limbs to fall into power lines, Paquette said.
Still, the new storm had caused "excessive" cancellations and delays of flights arriving at or departing from Boston's Logan International Airport on Sunday, according to FlightStats.com.
"Travel will be slow at best on well-treated surfaces and quite difficult on any unplowed or untreated surfaces," the National Weather Service warning said.
Shari Donnermeyer, 54, a media consultant from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was driving on Interstate 95 from Massachusetts into New Hampshire with winds so strong she could feel her SUV being blown around on the road, where traffic was crawling and drifts of snow were piling up.
"It's blowing like stink," said Donnermeyer, using a popular sailing phrase. "The roads are terrible and the drifts are huge."
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, snow fell steadily, leaving several inches (cm) on the ground by early afternoon. Winds whipped through residential areas and temperatures fell to the high teens (between -7 and -9 Celsius).
David Pap, a real estate agent who was shoveling snow in front of his apartment building, said he tried to keep paths clear for an older couple living on the third floor, in case they needed to get out.
"It's kind of pretty, but it's really no big deal," he said of the snow. "It's just a couple inches, so for hardy New Englanders, that's nothing."
Much farther south, in parts of Florida's key citrus-growing region, a cold front threatened to push temperatures as low as 27 Fahrenheit (-3 Celsius) by Monday morning. However, the low temperatures in central and northern Florida were unlikely to drop down enough to cause significant damage to the state's $9 billion citrus industry, according to the National Weather Service.
(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan, Daniel Lovering and Tom Brown; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Sandra Maler)