Northeast catches a break as new storm system loses punch

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Ed Payne(CNN) — Finally some good news for the good folks of the Northeast.

Already buried under mounds of snow from two storms this week, a third storm — originally projected to be the worst of the bunch — will fizzle.

“The Northeast will get a few inches as opposed to a few feet,” said CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. “It has weakened significantly.”

What snow the region will get will come at the start of the new week.

Before the storm system’s track shifted, the future was looking bleak for snow-weary Boston, New York and the rest of the region.

For now, they can concentrate on the mess dumped on streets, driveways and sidewalks Wednesday.

Boston strong backs

Up to 13 inches fell across Massachusetts, more than 9 inches in the city of Boston. A delight for sledding school kids off for the day, but no so much fun for everyone else.

Just try getting that much fresh white powder off your buried car.

“When you take off this amount of snow with a shovel, it goes faster if you don’t scratch the hood of the car,” Frank Pustorino of Woburn told CNN affiliate WHDH.

The wet, heavy snow even caused problems for plow drivers.

“Harder to push, not as easy actually to plow,” said Nick Sfravara. “It’s definitely a challenge to get this stuff out of the way rather than the light stuff.”

Boston is about 8 inches ahead of its normal snowfall pace for the year, according to the National Weather Service.

New York nuisance

In New York, the number is 23 inches above normal for the season.

The heavy snows are taxing salt reserves.

On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared an emergency for the entire state.

Transportation regulators waived rest rules for salt-truck drivers to get remaining salt stockpiles moved to where they are needed: New York City and Long Island.

Kansas conundrum

But this was hardly a storm that just tormented the Northeast.

The wintry mess stretches from the Rockies all the way to the East Coast.

In Kansas, a 58-year-old man died Wednesday after a traffic accident the night before, the Kansas Highway Patrol said. It was the state’s third weather-related death of the week.

Hit with a foot of snow, the Kansas City, Missouri-area will still be digging out Thursday.

Crews in Overland Park, Kansas, had to start again after winds drifted freshly plowed roads shut.

“It would be nice to have everything hit … but realistically I don’t know if we are going to get it all done,” Greg Scharff, Overland Park’s public works superintendent, told KCTV. “We are geared for 4 inches of snow … and when we get excessive amounts, the timeline doubles and triples.”

CNN’s John Newsome, Greg Botelho and Tom Watkins contributed to this report.