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The Latest: Storm-felled trees kill 5, including 2 children

The Latest on a major late-winter storm pounding the East Coast (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

An 11-year-old boy in New York state is the fifth person reported killed by downed trees in a fierce winter storm bringing high winds and heavy rain to the East Coast.

A tree crashed through a house in New York's Putnam County shortly after noon Friday.

A 6-year-old Virginia boy and adults in Virginia, Rhode Island and Maryland also died Friday due to fallen trees or tree limbs.

Meanwhile, police in New York reported that several barges broke loose in the Hudson River during the storm.

The barges were part of the construction project for the new Mario Cuomo Bridge, formerly known as the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The Coast Guard and the New York City Fire Department as well as commercial tugs responded.

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5 p.m.

Four people have died from falling trees amid a fierce winter storm pounding the East Coast, including a 6-year-old boy.

Police say the boy was killed when a tree fell on his Chester, Virginia home. Police say a man in James City County, Virginia, died after wind toppled a tree onto a vehicle.

Near Baltimore, a 77-year-old woman was struck and killed by a tree branch outside her home.

A man was hit and killed by a tree in Newport, Rhode Island.

The nor'easter has brought hurricane-force wind gusts to some parts of the region, reaching as much as 80 miles per hour on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

The National Weather Service warns that pedestrians will face very hazardous conditions and travel is dangerous, especially for tractor-trailers and buses.

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4:15 p.m.

More than 1.6 million homes and businesses are without power amid a winter storm stalled over the eastern U.S.

From North Carolina to Maine and westward to Michigan, the storm has felled trees, downed power lines and blown down buildings under construction.

The poweroutage.us website, reports the most outages in Pennsylvania, where 376,000 homes and businesses had no power Friday afternoon.

The Tappan Zee Bridge in New York and bridges in Rhode Island were closed to heavy trucks because of high winds.

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3:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service says a winter storm hitting the Northeastern U.S. is becoming a storm "we will never forget."

In Boston's Seaport district, roads and sidewalks flooded and waves of several feet kicked up tree branches, plastic bottles and even a wooden chest. Several roads were closed because of flooding.

Meteorologist Bill Simpson of the National Weather Service in Massachusetts says the nor'easter has been causing wind gusts over 80 mph on Cape Cod and is stalling over the region, rather than moving up the coast.

New York City's airports were disrupted. About a third of the flights at Kennedy Airport were cancelled by mid-afternoon. Airport officials say flights were departing and arriving on a "limited basis" because of high winds. All inbound traffic to LaGuardia airport was also being held.

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2:15 p.m.

A fierce storm bringing high winds and heavy rain is causing problems around the northeast.

The National Weather Service says some of the highest gusts Friday had been observed in Rhode Island, where the wind toppled a container truck as it crossed the Newport Pell Bridge. The span and two other bridges in the state were closed to high-profile vehicles.

Outside Philadelphia, a tree crashed onto the roof of a commuter bus, halting traffic on one of the area's busiest highways. No injuries were reported.

The weather service says it was aware of hurricane-force wind gusts on Cape Cod, including a report of 78 mph in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

Boston has reached its third highest tide since records began in 1928, at 14.67 feet. It expects the tide to crest higher during the second high tide of the storm at midnight.

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1:30 p.m.

The fierce nor'easter battering the Northeast is causing havoc with rail travel.

Amtrak announced Friday that all services along the Northeast Corridor "are temporarily suspended due to multiple weather related issues."

Service between New York City and Boston was suspended earlier due to flooding and multiple downed trees.

Amtrak also announced that one track on the Washington-Maryland corridor was out service for repairs due to weather damage. That forced trains to reduce speeds for safety.

Trains already en route will continue to Washington, New York City and Boston and hold.

In New Jersey, a downed tree that hit overhead wires has suspended some New Jersey Transit service.

NJT says the tree toppled in the area of Morris Plains on Friday, causing the suspension of service on the Morris and Essex Line in both directions between Dover and Convent Station.

It wasn't immediately known if the service would resume in time for the evening commute.

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12:50 p.m.

More than 700,000 electric customers across the Northeast are without power as a late-winter nor'easter pummels the region with high winds and driving rain.

The poweroutage.us website, which tracks utilities across the nation, reported early Friday afternoon that New York was the hardest hit state with more than 208,000 homes and businesses without electricity.

About 180,000 Pennsylvania customers and 140,000 Virginia customers were without power.

The New England area was not hit as hard, with Massachusetts experiencing nearly 27,000 outages.

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12:20 p.m.

Heavy rains are aggravating problems that Pittsburgh has been having with landslides in recent days

One home was destroyed and the back wall of another was crushed in a landslide Friday in Kilbuck Township, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) northwest of Pittsburgh.

Tom Tomaro has lived in the 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom house his entire life. The landscape contractor said he noticed signs that the land was shifting several days ago, and started to move out his belongings then. The landslide has so far plowed through his fence, yard and deck and crushed the 70-year-old home's back wall.

For now, he and his wife are staying with his mother-in-law.

Officials say all the rain is causing the clay soil underneath to move quickly.

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11:55 a.m.

A major nor'easter is combining with high tide to cause flooding along coastal areas of the Eastern Seaboard.

Water flooded onto the streets near Boston's Long Wharf just before noon Friday, while flood waters closed roads and threatened homes in Quincy just south of Boston

Firefighters in Quincy and Duxbury rescued drivers from stranded cars. Quincy police warned drivers on Twitter not to try and drive down flooded streets.

Flooded roads were also reported on Long Island, New York, and in Connecticut.

Nancy Bennett, owner of Milford Boat Works in Milford, Connecticut, says there is couple of feet of water in the yard where there is usually none.

High winds were also causing havoc across the region. In Watertown just west of Boston, police say eight utility poles were knocked over, blocking a major artery through town.

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11:30 a.m.

High winds and driving rain are causing thousands of flight cancellations at East Coast airports.

Flightaware.com was reporting more than 2,000 cancellations late Friday morning.

An American Airlines spokesman says the company has canceled about 18 percent of its flights in the Northeast, with Boston's Logan Airport and Reagan Washington National Airport the hardest hit.

Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and American were allowing travelers to change their Friday and Saturday flights to avoid delays and cancellations.

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11:30 a.m.

High winds are causing power outages, school and work closures and traffic problems across Virginia.

The winds are part of a major nor'easter that was pounding the East Coast on Friday, also packing heavy rain and intermittent snow further north.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was closed to all traffic Friday morning. Some roads were blocked by downed trees.

Dominion Energy was reporting power outages across the state, but the numbers were highest in northern Virginia. Nearly 141,000 customers there were without power Friday morning.

In central Virginia's Hanover County, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports fire-EMS crews were dispatched to a home around 2:45 a.m. for a tree that had fallen into a two-story house. Four children were trapped inside.

Authorities say there were no injuries.

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10:20 a.m.

A major nor'easter packing wet, heavy snow has sent tree limbs crashing down, closed schools and left more than 100,000 customers without power across upstate New York.

The National Weather Service says Buffalo had received more than 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow by 7 a.m. Friday, a record for March 2. Areas south of the city were under 20 inches (50 centimeters) or more. The Rochester area was closing in on a foot of snow.

Accumulations were lower in eastern parts of the state, but the heavy mix of snow and rain made traveling hazardous, especially in the high-elevation areas like the Catskill Mountains.

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10 a.m.

The National Weather Service is warning of possible record high tides in Massachusetts from a nor'easter hitting the East Coast.

The service says seas could top 15.5 feet (4.7 meters) at a tidal gauge in Boston Harbor, but it is anticipating a high tide of 14.5 feet (4.4 meters) to 15.1 feet (4.6 meters) in the harbor.

A storm earlier this winter brought a record high tide of more than 15 feet (4.5 meters) to Boston.

Authorities are urging residents of coastal communities to be prepared to evacuate if necessary in advance of Friday's noon high tide. The National Weather Service says all of Rhode Island is under flood and high wind watches through Sunday morning.

Wind gusts exceeding 50 mph (80 kph) are expected as the storm moves up the Eastern Seaboard.

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9:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is traveling out of Dulles International Airport, rather than Andrews Air Force Base, because of the late-winter storm battering the East Coast.

Trump is heading Friday to North Carolina for the Rev. Billy Graham's funeral. He was scheduled to leave out of Dulles midmorning.

Trump usually travels out of Andrews, but his departure location was moved due to high winds in the area.

A major nor'easter was starting to slam the East Coast with heavy rain, intermittent snow and strong winds.

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9 a.m.

The front edge of the storm expected to pound the East Coast dropped as much as a foot of snow on parts of northeast Ohio, with heavy winds leading to power outages and school closings.

Cleveland-based National Weather Service meteorologist Marty Mullen says wind gusts from the storm passing through Thursday night into Friday morning reached 55 mph near the Lake Erie shoreline with sustained winds of 20-30 mph.

Mullen says areas in Ashtabula County in the far northeast corner of the state received 10-12 inches of wet, heavy snow while temperatures hovered around freezing. Areas west of Cleveland reportedly received less than an inch.

Winds caused power outages throughout the area with numerous school closings reported east of the city.

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7:30 a.m.

The powerful coastal storm moving along the East Coast is set to bring high winds to New Jersey, where some rain is already switching to wet snow in some areas.

The National Weather Service says winds are expected to increase drastically during the day, peaking Friday afternoon. Gusts of 50 mph to 60 mph are expected, as are downed trees and power lines.

Some flights have already been canceled at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Significant snow accumulation is expected at higher elevations in northwest New Jersey and the Poconos.

The storm could take a chunk out of Jersey shore beaches that are still being repaired following damage from previous storms.

There's no guarantee that all the sand that washes away over the next few days will be replaced.

___

7:10 a.m.

The powerful coastal storm moving along the East Coast is bringing high winds to Pennsylvania, where some rain is already switching to snow in some areas.

The winds are expected to pick up Friday afternoon and continue into the evening. Some flights have already been canceled at Philadelphia's airport.

Gusts of up to 60 mph are possible. Property owners are being urged to secure items like trash cans and patio furniture.

The change from rain to wet snow during the evening rush could cause travel issues from Harrisburg to Allentown and Philadelphia, and officials urge drivers to be cautious.

The heaviest snow could fall in the Poconos and Lehigh Valley.

The storm is affecting the entire eastern seaboard, from New England all the way down to northern Georgia.

___

12:05 a.m.

A major Nor'easter is starting to slam the East Coast with heavy rain, intermittent snow and strong winds.

Gusts exceeding 50 mph are expected as the storm moves up the Eastern seaboard on Friday.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has activated 200 National Guard members.

In New Jersey, officials are worried the storm could take a chunk out of beaches just south of Atlantic City that are still being repaired because of damage from previous storms.

Authorities are urging residents of coastal communities to be prepared to evacuate if necessary in advance of Friday morning's high tide.

The National Weather Service says all of Rhode Island is under flood and high wind watches from Friday through Sunday morning.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A Colorado man who for days pleaded publicly for the return of his pregnant wife and two young daughters has been arrested and charged with killing them, police said.  Christopher Lee Watts, 33, of Frederick, was arrested just after 11 p.m. Wednesday night in connection with the slayings of his wife, Shanann Watts, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Shanann Watts, 34, was about 15 weeks pregnant. Bella Watts was days away from starting kindergarten.  John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon that investigators were “quite certain” the body of Shanann Watts has been recovered. “We have strong reason to believe we know where the bodies of the children are, and recovery efforts are in process on that,” Camper said.  “This is absolutely the worst possible outcome that any of us could imagine. I think our hearts are broken for the town of Fredrick as much as anybody’s.” Chris Watts is being held in the Weld County Jail pending formal charges, Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke said during the briefing. 9News in Denver reported earlier Thursday that Chris Watts faces three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with physical evidence. >> Related story: Report: Man with NC ties confesses to killing wife, 2 daughters in Colorado Fredrick police officials said they received a call just before 2 p.m. Monday reporting Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts missing. The report was made by a friend who went to the family’s home in the Wyndham Hill subdivision and found no sign of Shanann or the girls.  Chris Watts said in an interview Tuesday with 9News that he saw the woman at the front door, via the home’s doorbell camera, and realized his family was missing.  “I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘I can’t get ahold of Shanann,’” Watts said. “That’s when I was just, like, ‘OK, something’s not right.’” He said he, too, had been unable to reach his wife via phone or text message. See Chris Watts’ entire interview with 9News below. Shanann Watts’ vehicle, as well as her purse and medication for the children, were all still at the house, authorities said. Police on Tuesday upgraded the missing persons report to an “Endangered Missing Alert” because of the potential medical concerns with the children.   Investigators conducted multiple interviews and officers canvassed the family’s neighborhood for witnesses and clues. News of the missing mother and daughters soon went national, and Watts did his interview with 9News on Tuesday, in which he described his family’s disappearance as “earth-shattering.”  “I don’t feel like this is even real right now. It’s like a nightmare that I just can’t wake up from,” Watts told a reporter. Watts spoke in loving terms of his daughters.  “Celeste, she’s just a bottle of energy,” he said. “I call her ‘Rampage’ because she's got two speeds: go, or she’s sleeping. She’s always the troublemaker, she’s always the one, like, jumping off things. Bella, she’s the more calm, cautious, mothering type, and she’s more like me -- she’s more calm. Celeste has definitely got her mom’s personality, where she’s all gung-ho, ready to go.” The young father also addressed those who might think he had a hand in his family’s disappearance. “Everybody’s going to have their own opinion on anything like this,” Watts said. “I just want people to know that I want my family back. I want them safe and I want them here. This house is not the same.” Less than 24 hours later, Watts was in custody. A law enforcement source told 9News that Watts confessed to killing his wife and children.  No motive has been established, though The Denver Post reported the couple had serious financial problems over the years. They filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in July 2015, citing liabilities of more than $400,000.  The Wyndham Hill Master Association filed a civil claim against the couple last month, but details of that claim were not immediately available, according to the Post.  >> Read more trending news Shanann Watts wrote on social media about the trips and vacations she had earned for her family through Le-Vel, a health and wellness company that sells nutritional products. The Post reported that Watts’ position with the company appeared to have rejuvenated the family’s finances.  “We have qualified for so many amazing trips in two years that we never otherwise would have been able to visit,” she wrote about trips to New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Diego, Toronto, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.  Chris Watts worked for Anadarko Petroleum Co., according to bankruptcy records.  Le-Vel officials wrote on Facebook Thursday morning that their hearts were broken for Shanann Watts and her daughters.  “Shanann was an amazing woman, mother, friend, and overall person,” the statement read. “She lit up every room and was a joy to be around. Our love, prayers, and support go out during this devastating time to her family, friends, and to all Thrivers who had the great fortune of knowing Shanann and her two beautiful daughters.” Shanann Watts’ brother, Frankie Rzucek, wrote that he just wants to know why his sister and nieces died.  “My precious family, my one and only sibling, my sister Shanann, two adorable nieces, Bella and Celeste, and her soon-to-be-found-out unborn son, Niko,” Rzucek wrote. “I just want 30 seconds alone with that heartless psychopath. May Satan have mercy on his soul.” Some of the more poignant social media posts come from the Facebook page of Shanann Watts herself. In a post that included a photo of one of her girls playing at the beach, the young mother wrote of her fears of letting her daughter out into the world.  “The world is a scary place,” Shanann Watts wrote on Aug. 4, just over a week before their disappearances. “I will do everything in my power to teach her right and to protect her, advocate, stand up for her and defend her. I pray every day that she never feels any less than the rest of the world. I pray that she’s protected when I’m not around to protect her.  “Nothing or no one will stop me.”
  • Bodies believed to be those of Christopher Watts’ two young daughters were recovered late Thursday in Colorado, bringing to a tragic close a missing persons’ case that captured the nation’s attention. Watts, 33, of Frederick, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of tampering with physical evidence in the deaths of his wife and children, Weld County Jail records show. He is being held without bail.  Frederick police officials announced Thursday night that they believed they had found the bodies of Bella Watts, 4, and Celeste Watts, 3, though they declined to say where the bodies were found.  “While we will not disclose the location as to where these bodies were located, police can say that they were found in close proximity to the other body whom officers strongly believe is (their mother) Shanann’s,” officials said on Facebook.  The body of Watts’ wife, Shanann Watts, was recovered earlier Thursday. John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon that investigators were “quite certain” the body was that of the 34-year-old woman, who was about 15 weeks pregnant when she and her daughters were reported missing Monday.  Chris Watts made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon, 9News in Denver reported. Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke told the court that the slayings took place in the family’s Frederick home.  Camper said Thursday that Shanann Watts’ remains were found on the property Anadarko Petroleum Corp., the oil and natural gas exploration company for which Chris Watts worked. 9News in Denver reported that Anadarko has multiple properties within 15 miles of Frederick. >> Related story: Colorado man who pleaded for return of missing wife, daughters arrested in deaths Anadarko released a statement in which a spokesperson said Watts was fired Wednesday, the day of his arrest, 9News reported.  “We are heartbroken by this, and our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones and friends of the Watts family,” the statement read. “We will continue to support law enforcement in its investigation.” Law enforcement officials also expressed sorrow over the homicides.  “This is absolutely the worst possible outcome that any of us could imagine,” Camper said Thursday. “I think our hearts are broken for the town of Fredrick as much as anybody’s.” Fredrick police officials said they received a call just before 2 p.m. Monday reporting Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts missing. The report was made by a friend who went to the family’s home in the Wyndham Hill subdivision and found no sign of Shanann or the girls.  Chris Watts said in an interview Tuesday with 9News that he saw the woman at the front door, via the home’s doorbell camera, and realized his family was missing.  “I said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And she said, ‘I can’t get ahold of Shanann,’” Watts said. “That’s when I was just, like, ‘OK, something’s not right.’” He said he, too, had been unable to reach his wife via phone or text message.  See Chris Watts’ entire interview with 9News below. Shanann Watts’ vehicle, as well as her purse and medication for the children, were all still at the house, authorities said. Police on Tuesday upgraded the missing persons report to an “Endangered Missing Alert” because of the potential medical concerns with the children.  >> Related story: Report: Man with NC ties confesses to killing wife, 2 daughters in Colorado Investigators conducted multiple interviews and officers canvassed the family’s neighborhood for witnesses and clues. News of the missing mother and daughters soon went national, and Watts did his interview with 9News on Tuesday, in which he described his family’s disappearance as “earth-shattering.”  “I don’t feel like this is even real right now. It’s like a nightmare that I just can’t wake up from,” Watts told a reporter. >> Read more trending news Watts spoke in loving terms of his daughters.  “Celeste, she’s just a bottle of energy,” he said. “I call her ‘Rampage’ because she's got two speeds: go, or she’s sleeping. She’s always the troublemaker, she’s always the one, like, jumping off things. Bella, she’s the more calm, cautious, mothering type, and she’s more like me -- she’s more calm. Celeste has definitely got her mom’s personality, where she’s all gung-ho, ready to go.” The young father also addressed those who might think he had a hand in his family’s disappearance. “Everybody’s going to have their own opinion on anything like this,” Watts said. “I just want people to know that I want my family back. I want them safe and I want them here. This house is not the same.” Less than 24 hours later, Watts was in custody. A law enforcement source told 9News that Watts confessed to killing his wife and children. 
  • With Florida's Primary Election Day quickly approaching, WOKV is breaking down everything you need to know ahead of August 28th. VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  In order to vote in the primaries, the Florida Division of Election says you needed to register to vote ahead of the July 30, 2018, deadline. If you missed that, you can register to vote between now and October 9, 2018, in order to vote in the General Election on November 6th.  SAMPLE BALLOTS:  Florida is a closed primary election state-- meaning only voters who are registered members of a political party can vote for that party's candidates or nominees. That means your sample ballot will vary, depending on which political party you're registered in. Ballots will also vary by county.  You can access sample ballots, by visiting the Supervisor of Elections website for your specific county. Links are posted below: Baker County Clay County Duval County Nassau County St. Johns County Sample ballots have also been mailed out. WHAT TO BRING: In order to cast your ballot, you’ll need to bring a photo and signature ID. This can include a Florida Driver’s License, Florida ID, a US passport, a military ID, a student ID, among other options. You can read more about ID requirements HERE. If you fail to bring proper identification, you will be issued a provisional ballot. HOW TO FIND YOUR PRECINCT Baker County voters, click HERE Clay County voters, click HERE Duval County, click HERE Nassau County, click HERE St. Johns County, click HERE EARLY VOTING DATES: Baker County  August 16, 2018 - August 25, 2018  Clay County  August 18, 2018 - August 25, 2018  Duval County August 13, 2018- August 26, 2018 Nassau County  August 17, 2018 - August 25, 2018  St. Johns County  August 18, 2018 - August 25, 2018
  • If you want to avoid the crowd on Florida's Primary Election Day, early voting kicks off on Monday in Duval County.  According to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website, early voting for Duval County residents will begin Monday, August 13th, and run through Sunday, August 26th.  The county will be opening 18 early voting sites 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM each of the days:  The Supervisor of Elections Main Office will also be open, but the hours run 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sundays are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  For early voting you will need to present a photo and signature ID. If you don't have an acceptable ID, you will be issued a provisional ballot.  To find a sample ballot, click HERE. Florida's Primary Election Day is August 28th.  Early voting dates for other Northeast Florida counties:  Baker County  August 16, 2018 - August 25, 2018  Clay County  August 18, 2018 - August 25, 2018  Nassau County  August 17, 2018 - August 25, 2018  St. Johns County  August 18, 2018 - August 25, 2018
  • Jacksonville Public Library needs your help to secure $25,000 worth of children’s books for our city.  JetBlue is giving out that prize, and a reading room makeover, to one of its destination cities. Right now, Jacksonville is in the lead, but Cleveland is a strong second, and voting continues through the end of the month.  Voting is unlimited, through the JetBlue Soar with Reading/Book With Us contest website. 16 cities are in the running, as finalists. Share this post on Facebook to help spread the word! 

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