East Coast digs out after blizzard as flights, transit remain snarled – Washington Post

Millions of people along the East Coast continued to recover from the historic blizzard that pummeled the seaboard over the weekend, even as governments and schools throughout the Northeast were closed Monday and transportation remained snarled by the storm.

The storm has been blamed for more than two dozen deaths, according to the Associated Press. At least nine deaths in the Washington area were being attributed to the storm, with several others being investigated, while five deaths in New York City were linked to snow shoveling.

Travelers who had hoped to fly Monday still encountered problems as flights have not fully resumed. More than 1,500 flights scheduled for Monday were canceled by midday, the bulk of those in New York and Washington, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks air travel.

[Live updates: Digging out after a historic blizzard]

Since Friday, more than 12,000 flights have been canceled, as the storm effectively shut down large parts of air travel in the Northeast corridor, home to several of the country’s most-visited airports.

Transit options rumbled back to life in some parts of the Northeast, with some areas having more luck than others.  In Washington, where the federal and local governments remained closed Monday, the Metro system offered only limited service on its trains and buses.

In New York, where the snowfall total wound up just shy of a record, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) said that after the weekend’s service cancellations, most transit options were back up and running by Monday.

Central Park saw 26.8 inches of snow on Friday and Saturday, making it the second-biggest snowstorm on record there, trailing only the 26.9 inches that fell in February 2006, according to the National Weather Service.

[The 12 best meteorological images of the storm]

“We survived and then some, I think it’s fair to say,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said at a briefing Sunday. He added: “This storm was very dangerous.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the danger extended to the cleanup efforts, urging people with health issues not to shovel snow.

“We’ve now lost five people in the course of this storm who were snow shoveling,” de Blasio, a Democrat, said during a briefing Monday.

Service has been restored on all subway lines in New York City, while buses are also running once again, albeit with some detours due to the snow still on the ground, officials said. Above-ground trains and all buses had been halted while the snow pounded the city on Saturday, and a travel ban had been put into place from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning.

Long Island Rail Road service, which had been suspended due to the storm, was partially restored for Monday morning, though it was still halted in some areas. Metro-North trains, meanwhile, were on the move after resuming service Sunday afternoon.

De Blasio’s office said that authorities had plowed nearly all primary and secondary roads at least once since the storm ended, but added that some tertiary roads remained impassable.

The storm dropped 30.5 inches of snow at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, the Weather Service reported. On Monday, de Blasio acknowledged that there were still issues with roads in Queens and said during the news briefing that the city had sent dozens of extra plows to Queens to focus on “those streets where there’s additional need.”

All of the city’s schools were opened Monday, though field trips relying on school buses were canceled, city officials said.

In Philadelphia, where the snow emergency was lifted Sunday night, the city government reopened Monday morning while the schools remained closed.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which operates around the Philadelphia area, began to resume service Sunday. Regional rail service, which had been suspended, was largely restored Monday, with authorities warning of delays as some trains had not been used for more than two days.

State officials in Pennsylvania apologized after more than 500 vehicles were stranded along a 16-mile stretch of the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset and Bedford counties.

State authorities said the immense backup was started after tractor trailers approaching the Allegheny Tunnel jackknifed, adding that poor conditions and the backups prevented emergency crews from being able to clear these trucks.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) thanked first responders for keeping people safe during the backup. Sean Logan, chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, released a statement apologizing to all of the travelers stranded “during this unfortunate ordeal” and vowing a review of what happened.

Snowfall in New Jersey reached 28 inches at the Newark airport, and several other parts of the state saw more than two feet of snow, the Weather Service reported.

New Jersey Transit said it was running most normal weekday service Monday, though officials said bus service could be affected by snow removal on roads.

“I want to commend the people of New Jersey,” Gov. Chris Christie (R), who left the presidential campaign trail to return for the storm before heading back to New Hampshire on Sunday, told CNN. “They played smart and they played safe.”

[‘Everybody cry': Mom, 1-year-old in N.J. killed by carbon monoxide as dad clears snow]

Along New Jersey’s coasts, residents were battered by flooding that sent icy water cascading through streets. The storm brought a hurricane-like surge of water that broke records in New Jersey and Delaware as it eroded beaches and flooded streets:

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) ended the state of emergency there at midnight Sunday, and at the same time  lifted a travel ban that had ordered non-essential drivers to stay off the roads in the state’s three counties.

State offices were ordered to open at 10 a.m. Monday, a two-hour delay that Markell’s office said was meant to keep drivers off the road during the morning rush so cleanup could continue.

“We have made significant progress clearing roads in all three counties,” Markell said in a statement. But he asked drivers to use caution and to expect street parking to be tougher in Wilmington and other places.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McRory (R) asked people in the state to be careful, as slick spots remain an issue after days of winter weather.

McRory also said that a state trooper was injured Saturday by two people driving all-terrain four-wheelers on a highway. The trooper was in China Grove, N.C., and asked the people operating the vehicles to get off the road, only for them to charge him; the trooper has since been treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

“This attitude and behavior towards any of our law enforcement officers or first responders is abysmal and inexcusable,” McCrory said in a statement. “They left their families at home and in many cases put themselves in harm’s way so that we could be safe.”

Authorities have also said that the wintry weather was responsible for a mounting death toll stretching down the Eastern Seaboard. McCrory’s office said that six people had died in the state since Wednesday, all in vehicle crashes. New Jersey officials said a mother and her 1-year-old son died after snow blocked the tailpipe of their car.

In Kentucky, the state Transportation Cabinet said one of its employees, a 44-year-old man, died while plowing highways in Christian County. He called in to a supervisor to say his plow had slid off a ditch and was found in the truck seat, slumped over and unresponsive, officials said.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said in a statement Sunday that two of the county’s residents suffered “fatal heart injuries while removing snow,” one of them using a shovel and the other a snowblower.


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This story has been updated.


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