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Weekly wrap-up: Senator calls for investigation of cruise ship that sailed into a ferocious winter storm

A cruise ship was battered in a ferocious winter storm that slammed portions of southern New England with blizzard conditions.

On Monday, a coastal storm brought blizzard conditions to portions of southern New England, including Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The storm lashed communities along Cape Cod with heavy winds, which exacerbated coastal flooding and brought trees down on roads.

The National Weather Service in Boston reported whiteout conditions and 60-mph winds around the area late Monday morning. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker urged residents to avoid traveling unless necessary.

At least 30 people were injured when a bus crashed on Interstate 95 in Madison, Connecticut, during the storm, the Associated Press reported.

On Sunday, Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas cruise ship sailed directly into a fierce winter storm in the Atlantic Ocean. On board were more than 4,500 passengers but only four suffered injuries.

The ship had departed from Bayonne, New Jersey, and was on its way to the Bahamas. It eventually returned to port late Wednesday night.

Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, has called for the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate why the ship sailed into the storm despite it being forecast for several days, the AP said.

Cruise ship returns from stormy seas

"The storm had characteristics of a classic nor'easter," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said. "It had hurricane-force winds, as other winter storms can have."

"You have to treat storms like this as if they were hurricanes," he said.

During the heart of the California's rainy season, a prolonged dry spell unfolded across the state this week. The dry weather was good news for those attending Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, but bad news for residents hoping for continued drought relief.

Unseasonable warmth accompanied the dry weather, and record highs were challenged from Los Angeles to Seattle. Downtown Los Angeles set new record highs on Monday, 88 F, and Tuesday, 89 F. In the Bay Area, Oakland International Airport reached 79 F on Monday breaking the previous record of 70 F.

In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, which climbed to 63 F, and Olympia, Washington, which hit 66 F, both broke records on Tuesday.

One week after Gertrude and Henry pounded the United Kingdom, Storm Imogen brought powerful winds and downpours during Sunday night into Monday evening.

The storm caused more than 19,000 homes to lose power, according to the BBC. Across the southern U.K., delays to rail service, air travel and road closures were common due to the flooding and high winds.

The UK Met Office said gusts of 60-70 mph battered the U.K., while coastal areas saw wind gusts up to 96 mph. Rough seas were also a byproduct of Imogen. The Met Office reported a maximum wave height of 19.1 meters (63 feet) off the coast of St. Ives, Cornwall.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.