Tail end of blizzard sows US travel chaos
The tail end of a powerful blizzard across the US north-east snarled plans for millions of holiday travellers yesterday, forcing New York airport closures and crippling road and rail traffic. Starting early on Sunday, the blizzard blanketed the region in between one and two feet of snow, driven by gale force winds and lightning storms that sent temperatures plummeting and piled snow in icy drifts.
The National Weather Service said blizzard warnings remained in effect from Maine to New York, but the storm was due to move north out of the area by later yesterday.
That was of little comfort to the millions already stranded during the busiest season for transport of the year.
Some 2,000 flights were cancelled in the snow, compounding the misery of international passengers already seeing disruptions due to snow in Europe.
The New York area was especially hard hit. John F. Kennedy International Airport and La Guardia Airport, as well as Newark International in New Jersey, were closed on Sunday and overnight and were not due to reopen until 4 p.m. (2100 GMT).
Other airports in the region, including Boston and Philadelphia, were open, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The Amtrak rail network said it was resuming limited service between New York and Boston after blizzard conditions halted rail traffic along the heavily used corridor for 13 hours.
“Due to the residual effects of the storm, passengers should still expect delays on travel throughout the day and allow for ample time to arrive at their respective stations,” Amtrak said in a statement.
Service between New York and Washington, however, “continues to run normally,” the train company said.
In the New York area, the heavily-used commuter line between the city and Long Island was paralysed as were large portions of the city subway station, with ice and snow blocking tracks.
Roads were only marginally better. Manhattan streets were deserted except for occasional pedestrians struggling to keep their footing and a trickle of slow-moving vehicles.
Nearly 60,000 Massachusetts residents were without power late on Sunday after the storm plowed across the northeastern state, The Boston Globe reported.
State Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency, warning the storm was “expected to produce widespread heavy snowfall, periods of zero visibility, high winds, power outages, coastal flooding, and beach erosion.”
Heavy snow forced the National Football League to postpone an American football game for the second time in three weeks – this time for the Vikings-Eagles face-off in Philadelphia.