News Americas

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Violent storms kill 16 and bring chaos to US north-east

Jonathan Lemire New York

Published 04/01/2014 | 02:30

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Pedestrians brave wind and snow as they cross Fifth Avenue, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter.
Pedestrians brave wind and snow as they cross Fifth Avenue, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, in New York. New York City public schools were closed Friday after up to 7 inches of snow fell by morning in the first snowstorm of the winter.
A man walks in the snow down a road along the shore in Scituate, Mass., Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday
A man walks in the snow down a road along the shore in Scituate, Mass., Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions Friday
Above: pedestrians brave blizzards and temperatures of as low as -23C in New York as winter storms hit northeast US. AP/John Minchillo

At least 16 deaths have been blamed on a winter storm that dumped nearly 2ft of snow in finger-numbing temperatures in parts of north-east America.

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Fourteen deaths have been blamed on the storm.

By yesterday morning, about 2,200 flights had been cancelled nationwide, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com.

Most were in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC.

Governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency, urging residents to stay at home.

Hundreds of schools were shut down in Boston and New York, extending the holiday break for tens of thousands of students.

"This is nothing to be trifled with," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

"People should seriously consider staying in their homes."

The storm is causing death and destruction as it sweeps across the eastern half of the US, with road fatalities in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

HOMELESS

A massive pile of salt fell on a worker at a Philadelphia storage facility, killing him. And authorities say a woman with Alzheimer's froze to death after she wandered away from her rural New York home.

Forecasters said temperatures were plummeting to well below freezing and wind chill readings could hit -23C.

Another wave of cold air was already moving through the Midwest from Canada.

Outreach teams were searching streets in New York City and Boston for homeless people at risk of freezing to death.

Some major highways in New York state were shut down overnight, and some commuter trains around New York city were operating on a reduced schedule.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered non-essential state workers to stay at home. State offices and courthouses were closed. State offices were also closed in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, bad weather continued to wreak havoc across Britain, where the country's Environment Agency yesterday issued nine severe flood warnings -- where lives could be at risk -- in the South-west, Wales and the Midlands.

The rivers Stour in Dorset and Severn in Gloucestershire burst their banks, while Scotland was last night bracing itself for wind speeds of up to 80mph as storm surges moved north.

Looe in Cornwall, Ilfracombe, Barnstable and Plymouth in Devon and Caernarfon in Wales were among the towns which found themselves partially submerged.

Irish Independent

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