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Monday, 27 December 2010

Total white out: U.S. East Coast travellers warned to stay indoors as airports, road and rail grind to a halt and 'monster blizzard' expected to last

By Daily Mail Reporter

Heavy falls: Road crews in Brooklyn, New York, battle to keep major roads clear overnight as high winds and heavy snow falls continue to cover the northeast of the U.S.


- Motorists stranded on snow-clogged routes as plows cannot get through

- 1,400 flights out of New York's three major airports cancelled

- Train and bus services on East Coast suspended after two foot of snow

- New York gets December average of snow in a day

- Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey declare states of emergency


Blizzard conditions have reduced parts of the U.S. East Coast to a virtual standstill after airports were forced to cancel flights, trains shut down and roads were clogged by heavy snow.

The winter storm has wreaked havoc on travellers returning from the Christmas period from the Carolinas to Maine, leaving many stranded by the freezing conditions.

Airlines are scrambling to rebook passengers on thousands of cancelled flights - more than 1,400 out of New York's three major airports alone - and said they did not expect normal service to resume until at least tomorrow.


Treacherous: Traffic inches along Interstate 95 in Westport, Connecticut, as the heavy snow and freezing temperatures turns to ice


Freezing: A lone pedestrian battles her way through the blizzard in New York city. The Big Apple has been hit by a whole month's worth of snow in a single day


Amtrak cancelled its service from New York to Maine, as well as other trains in Virginia.

The nation's largest commuter rail system, New York's Long Island Rail Road, also suspended its service.

Bus companies up and down the East Coast have closed routes and roads have been left with near zero visibility in the heavy snow and strong winds.

Five feet of snow has fallen in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and a bus with 50 passengers on board as become stranded on the Garden State Parkway with snow plows unable to get through.

Police officers have been forced to carry water and food to people on board who had become feeling ill in the cold.


Big freeze: A motorist attempts to dig her car out of snow in downtown Newark, New Jersey


Blizzard: People walk through the heavy snow in Manhattan's Union Square as the winter storm continues to bite


Cold weather for dogs: A man walks his pet along Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, as snow falls around him


Almost a foot deep: Pedestrians walking through a freshly ploughed section of Brooklyn give perspective to the fall. Roads, railways and airports in the region were all heavily affected by the appalling weather


Up to 25 inches of snow has fallen in some places, with the winter storm expected to create deep snow drifts.

States of emergency were declared in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick urged people who did not have to be on the roads to stay home, to ensure their safety and that of work crews.

Nonessential state workers were told to stay home today.

State police in Rhode Island responded to several snow-related car accidents, including at least two rollovers, but no serious injuries were reported.

Air carriers began canceling flights on Saturday and warned that more cancellations were likely Monday. Operations were suspended Sunday at New York's John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports and at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport.

Delta Air Lines Inc., which has canceled 850 flights and expected cancellations Monday in New York and Boston, said it hoped to be back to normal by Tuesday morning, while United Airlines said it could add more flights Monday to accommodate stranded passengers.


Game over: A plow tries to clear the heavy snow from the pitch at Lincoln Financial Field. The match between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings had to be postponed


Shut down: A sailboat is covered in snow in Great Bridge Locks Park, Chesapeake. Hundreds of flights across the U.S. have been cancelled because of the weather


White-out: A snowplow clears roads in Westport, Connecticut, with forecasters predicting up to a foot of snow in places


In Boston, Mayor Thomas Menino declared a snow emergency that bans parking on all major streets, and the New England Aquarium bubble-wrapped its four 5-foot-tall penguin ice sculptures to protect them from the wind and snow.

More than 2,400 sanitation workers were working in 12-hour shifts to clear New York City's 6,000 miles of streets.

'I understand that a lot of families need to get home after a weekend away, but please don't get on the roads unless you absolutely have to,' Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

In Rhode Island, emergency officials encouraged businesses to let employees report to work late Monday, saying road conditions for the morning commute would be treacherous.

'You don't want to get your employees hurt,' said Steve Kass, a spokesman for the state Emergency Management Agency. 'The roads are not going to be good, that's for sure.'

The monster storm is the result of a low pressure system off the North Carolina coast and strengthened as it moved northeast, the National Weather Service said.

Because of it, parts of the South had their first white Christmas since records have been kept.


Winter wonderland: People stand in a snow-bound Times Square as the freezing conditions looked set to continue


Hazardous: A car makes its way along an icy road in rural Chesapeake, Virginia


Not all doom and gloom: For those not attempting to travel or shop - such as Aaron Theen, 14, and his dog Fax at their home in Chesapeake, Virginia - the snow was a lot of fun


The snow began falling in New York in late morning, and by 5pm it had already eclipsed the average of 3.3 inches for the month of December.

Sledders, snowboarders, hikers and even a few skiers were soon out in the storm, but there was litle joy to be had for anyone trying to travel.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that the storm could quickly turn dangerous, which could down trees, disrupt railroad signal systems and pose hazards for drivers.
He also expressed concern for the city's homeless, who had no way and nowhere to escape the freezing temperatures.

Mr Bloomberg promised that major roads would be cleared by ploughs overnight, and there was evidence that work had got underway.

But he told commuters to take mass transit into work. Trains, subways and buses were expected to be running.


Out of control: A New Jersey state trooper arrives to assist people after their cars collided in a heavy snowfall on Route 295 near Columbus on Boxing Day


I need some air! A dog looks out of a car window while stopped in traffic during a snowstorm on I95 in New Jersey on Sunday


Snowpocalypse: A man crosses Lexington Avenue on the east side of Manhattan as snow falls on Boxing Day. New York was expecting up to 16inches in the storm


Amtrak cancelled trains south of Washington to Richmond and Newport News, Virginia -, and later those between New York and Boston - , citing problems with high winds that affect signals, switches and overhead wires.

The service between Washington and New York was not affected.

More than 2,000 flights were cancelled by major airlines on the Eastern Seaboard, 1,444 of them at Kennedy International and La Guardia Airports in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The knock-on effect of the cancellations affected hundreds of other flights from Chicago and Atlanta, and even from London and Paris.

One terminal at Kennedy was turned into a campsite of refugees. Entire families rested on stacks of luggage, or slept restlessly on the floor.

People who ventured out in cars found major roads treacherous.Bus carriers cancelled service between Washington and Boston.


Nice weather for polar bears: A pedestrian walks along a snow-choked street on New York's Upper East Side


Grounded: More than 2,000 commercial flights were cancelled as the big storm rolled in, including about 1,400 flights from JFK, La Guardia and Newark, pictured above


Hopeless situation: Travellers soon realised that they would be waiting a long time before flights returned to normal. JFK transformed part of its airport into a refugee camp


The day after Christmas was the second-highest revenue day for retailers last year with $7.9billion spent, according to ShopperTrak.

The nation's largest mall, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, expected 100,000 shoppers Sunday, a bustling crowd on a day of respite from heavy snow that has plagued the area.

'We happen to have good weather, unlike what we've been having,' spokesman Dan Jasper said. He expects holiday revenue for stores at the mall will rise eight per cent over last year.

The monster storm is the result of a low pressure system off the North Carolina coast that will strengthen into a major storm as it moves northeast, according to the National Weather Service.

Early Sunday, winter storm warnings stretched from Georgia through the northeastern New England states.




source: dailymail

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