Eastern U.S. residents prepare for difficult commute following storm

NEW YORK - East Coast residents who made the most of a paralyzing weekend blizzard face fresh challenges as the workweek begins: slippery roads, spotty transit service and mounds of snow that buried cars and blocked sidewalk entrances.

See Full Article

For many, the weekend extends into Monday because of closed schools and government offices. Officials were cautioning against unnecessary driving even as they expected some commuter trains to be delayed or cancelled.

The storm dropped snow from the Gulf Coast to New England, with near-record snowfalls tallied from Washington, D.C. to New York City. At least 30 deaths were blamed on the weather, with shovelling snow and breathing carbon monoxide together claiming almost as many lives as car crashes.

The snow began Friday, and the last flakes fell just before midnight Saturday. In its aftermath, crews raced all day Sunday to clear streets and sidewalks devoid of their usual bustle.

Sunday's brilliant sunshine and gently rising temperatures provided a respite from the blizzard that dropped a record 74 centimetres on Baltimore. The weekend timing could not have been better, enabling many to enjoy a gorgeous winter day.

It was just right for a huge snowball fight in Baltimore, where more than 600 people responded to organizer Aaron Brazell's invite on Facebook.

"I knew people would be cooped up in their houses and wanting to come outside," said Brazell, who was beaned by multiple blasts of perfectly soft but firm snow.

But one day of sunshine wasn't enough to clear many roads. Cars parked in neighbourhoods were encased in snow, some of it pushed from the streets by plows. In downtown Philadelphia, some sidewalk entrances were blocked by mounds of snow.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged people to leave their plowed-in cars all week after a one-day record of 67.6 centimetres fell in Central Park.

That advice came too late for Bob Raldiris, who tried shovelling his Nissan Maxima out of a spot in Ridgewood, Queens, before passing plows and trucks spoiled his labour. "This is terrible," he said, pointing to a pile of snow three feet high.

Federal offices will be closed Monday, and Virginia's state workers were told to stay home. Schools from Washington to the Jersey Shore gave students Monday off; In the D.C. suburbs, classes also were cancelled for Tuesday.

New York's transit authority said partial service on the Long Island Rail Road wasn't expected to resume until 7 a.m., two hours later than it had predicted. The delay was due to switches and tracks that were refrozen overnight due to low temperatures. New York City subways, buses and Metro-North Railroad service have been restored and would operate on a normal schedule Monday with some cancellations.

Broadway reopened after going dark at the last minute during the snowstorm, but museums remained closed in Washington, and the House of Representatives postponed votes until February, citing the storm's impact on travel.

Flying remained particularly messy after nearly 12,000 weekend flights were cancelled. Airports resumed limited service in New York City, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which said it got an entire winter's snow in two days. Washington-area airports remained closed Sunday after the punishing blizzard.

Major airlines also cancelled hundreds of flights for Monday. Along with clearing snow and ice from facilities and equipment, the operators of airlines, train and transit systems had to figure out how to get snowbound employees to work.

Amtrak operated a reduced number of trains on all its routes, serving many people who couldn't get around otherwise, spokesman Marc Magliari said. But bus and rail service was expected to be limited around the region into Monday.

Overall snowfall of 68 centimetres in Central Park made it New York's second biggest winter storm since records began in 1869, and Saturday's 67.6 centimetres made for a single-day record in the city.

Some of the blizzard's heaviest snow bands wound up over New York City and Long Island, sending snow totals spiking higher than the 30 to 45 centimetres forecasters predicted Thursday.

"Just about everybody was expecting a strong storm system," National Weather Service meteorologist Peter Wichrowski said Sunday. "The question always was, just how heavy was the precipitation going to be?"

Washington's records were less clear. The official three-day total of 45 centimetres measured at Reagan National Airport was impossibly short of accumulations recorded elsewhere in the city. An official total of 59 centimetres landed at the National Zoo, for example.

The zoo remained closed through Monday but a video of its giant panda Tian Tian making snow angels got more than 48 million views. Joining the fun, Jeffrey Perez, of Millersville, Maryland, climbed into a panda suit and rolled around in the snow, snagging more than half a million views of his own.

Mother Nature was less deadly this time than human nature. A beloved Capitol policeman joined a grim list of people suffering heart attacks while shovelling snow. And a growing number of people died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Passaic, New Jersey, on Sunday, a mother and year-old son watching their family shovel snow from the apparent safety of their car died because snow blocked the tailpipe; her 3-year-old daughter was in critical condition. A man who tried to shovel out his car in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania, met a similar fate after a snowplow buried him inside. And an elderly couple in Greenville, South Carolina, was poisoned by the generator in their garage after losing power.

Roofs collapsed on a Pennsylvania church, a Virginia theatre and a barn outside Frederick, Maryland, which got 85 centimetres of snow, killing some cows. Douglas Fink felt terrible about that: "I was trying to protect them, but they probably would have been better off just standing outside."

-----

Contributors include Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols in Burke, Virginia; Bruce Shipkowski in Toms River, New Jersey; William Mathis, Scott Mayerowitz and Jake Pearson in New York; Alex Brandon and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Virginia; and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Mounties seize marijuana, cash in Chilliwack, B.C., dial-a-dope bust

    Canada News CTV News
    CHILLIWACK, B.C. - Police say an alleged dial-a-dope ring has been shut down in Chilliwack, B.C., and five people have been arrested. RCMP say officers received tips in May 2016 about a group selling narcotics throughout the city. Source
  • ISIS-obsessed German teen girl faces jail for slitting cop's throat

    World News Toronto Sun
    Furious that she couldn’t join the ISIS death cult in Syria, a German teen sought blood vengeance for the slight. The 16-year-old Muslim girl -- known only as Safia S. -- was convicted of slitting the throat of a policewoman who stopped her in a routine check at a Hanover train station. Source
  • Another Dragon entering political ring?

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - We’ve already had one Dragon breathing political fire this week. Could there be a second getting set to enter the ring as well? Just hours after going public with a scathing review of her former Dragons’ Den co-star Kevin O’Leary’s candidacy for the federal Conservative leadership, could Arlene Dickinson be set to jump into politics herself with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals? Source
  • Woman accused of drugging son to get him to sleep

    World News Toronto Sun
    CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A Pennsylvania woman is facing child endangerment charges after allegedly drugging her son to calm him. Police say a 27-year-old Cranberry Township woman admitted she gave her 10-year-old son trazodone to calm him after he fought with his siblings in December. Source
  • Last Canadian survivor of Armenian genocide dies at 107

    Canada News CBC News
    Montreal resident Knar Yemenidjian lived to 107, but the Armenian genocide survivor was lucky to have made it past the age of six. Yemenidjian died Thursday, just weeks shy of her 108th birthday. The mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who moved to Montreal in 1971, was the last living link for Canada's Armenian community to the horrors inflicted on their ancestors in Turkey beginning in 1915. Source
  • Obama exits presidency voicing optimism for the future

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Closing out a barrier-breaking chapter in history, former President Barack Obama left the White House on Friday much the way he entered it eight years ago: insisting Americans have reason for optimism despite the national sense of unease. Source
  • 'A president like no other': Donald Trump fires off 'confrontational, angry, populist' inaugural address

    World News CBC News
    It was classic Donald Trump — a hard-hitting campaign-style inauguration speech by the new president of the United States that used "America first" populist rhetoric, attacked Washington insiders and decried the state of the country. Source
  • 'Confrontational, angry' inaugural address leaves no doubt about which side Trump's on

    World News CBC News
    It was classic Donald Trump — a hard-hitting campaign-style inauguration speech by the new president of the United States that used "America first" populist rhetoric, attacked Washington insiders and decried the state of the country. Source
  • 'Your name is, ma’am?'; Accused cop killer interrupts judge while facing new charges

    World News Toronto Sun
    ORLANDO, Fla. — A day after an expletive-laced court appearance on charges he killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend, a fugitive was more subdued but still interrupted and refused to answer questions when he went before a judge Friday on five new charges filed against him in the death of an Orlando police officer. Source
  • Tim Hortons co-founder loses bid to have sex-assault suit tossed

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — A woman’s lawsuit alleging that the billionaire co-founder of Tim Hortons sexually assaulted her at his home will have to be decided at a full-blown trial, Ontario’s top court ruled Friday. Ron Joyce, 86, who has painted the woman with whom he had a one-time intimate relationship as a “pathological extortionist,” had wanted the Court of Appeal to find he had already paid his 36-year-old accuser to stop pushing the assault allegation before she sued him for $7.5 million in 2013. Source