Saturday 16 November 2019

US cities on shutdown as three feet of snow set to fall

Men shovel a pedestrian walkway in New York's Times Square on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Men shovel a pedestrian walkway in New York's Times Square on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A winter storm approaching the eastern United States is seen in a NOAA satellite image taken at 1:25pm EST (18:25 GMT)January 26, 2015
A person walks a dog in Riverside Park in New York, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A person crosses a snow-covered street in the Upper West Side neighborhood of New York, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A man skis in Prospect Park, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Pedestrians walk through wind-swept snow in downtown Brooklyn, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in New York.(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
A man sleds down a hill in Prospect Park, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
A person stands in the middle of snow-covered Avenue A in the East Village neighborhood of New York, early Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
A woman crosses a mostly empty 42nd Street in Times Square, New York, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Alexander Valeur of Denmark and Katia Borredo from Mexico carry their baggage through a snowstorm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
An New York Police Department officer takes photographs while keeping security during a snowstorm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Snow plow trucks clear the roads during a snowstorm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Workers clear the sidewalks during a snowstorm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Men play in the snow along 7th Ave during a storm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Jamina Goop, from Liechtenstein, does a handstand as she is photographed by a friend (unseen) during a snow storm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Valentin Borriello, from Paris, France, has his photograph made by a friend while lying on 7th Ave during snow storm in Times Square, New York early morning January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Manhattan resident Jerry Risner lies in the middle of 7th Ave as he has his photographed made by his friend P.J. Chernick during a snow storm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015.REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Female tourists use their smart phones to capture a snow storm in Times Square, New York early morning January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Snow falls around the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan, on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
A man stands in falling snow on West 42nd street in Times Square in New York, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A woman is seen on a public transportation bus during snowfall in the Queens borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
An employee of a local restaurant clears his car of snow to make return home as a statewide travel ban goes into effect in New Haven, Connecticut, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
The streets of New Haven, Connecticut, are deserted after a travel ban was put in place January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
Tow trucks prepare to remove illegally parked vehicles after a parking and travel ban was put in place in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
A woman crosses 1st Avenue as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A man waits for a public transportation bus to arrive during snowfall in the Queens borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A traffic alert sign is seen along the Long Island Expressway in Manhasset, New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Long Island Railroad train is seen parked at the Port Washington station in Port Washington, New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
People walk along 42nd St at Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
People cross a road as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
People cross 7th Avenue in falling snow near dusk in New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar
People walk in the Borough Hall section of downtown Brooklyn in New York City in falling snow, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
People walk in falling snow in Fort Greene Park in the Brooklyn borough Brooklyn in New York City January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Commuters walk through the Financial District during a snow storm in Lower Manhattan, New York, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Elizabeth Shafiroff
A woman and man observe a puppy playing in the snow during a snowstorm in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Elizabeth Shafiroff
A man stands under an umbrella while photographing a snow storm in Times Square, New York, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
Snow starts to build up on the roads in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
Margaret Naneder of Argentina takes a "selfie" as the snow falls in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
A man walks through falling snow, as seen through a frosted window, in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
A worker pushes a snow blower down Lexington Avenue near Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A snow plow clears the road down Lexington Avenue near Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Lulu Marin, visitor from San Lorenzo, Paraguay, poses for photographs during a snow storm in Times Square, New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A worker pushes a snow blower down Lexington Avenue near Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A bakery that normally has full shelves sits with its shelves bare of bread in Grand Central Terimnal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A man runs through falling snow in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
Shayan Oman, a visitor from Perth, Australia, poses for photos during a snow storm in New York's Times Square January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A man tries to hail a taxi in front of Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
An eagle, used as an architectural detail, is pictured at Grand Central Terminal as it snows in the Manhattan borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Commuters stand under an umbrella next to snow which was being plowed to the street edge from a walkway in Times Square, New York on January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
A woman walks beneath an umbrella in falling snow in the Fort Greene section of downtown Brooklyn in New York City January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
Women walk through falling snow in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
A man walks through falling snow in New Haven, Connecticut January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin
Mid-town Manhattan is pictured from the top of the United Nations building in New York January 26, 2015. Winter Storm Juno has brought a blizzard warning for New York and much of the North East United States. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
The skyline of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge is seen in falling snow as seagulls fly above the East River and New York Harbor as seen from the Brooklyn shore, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
A man stands in falling snow on West 42nd street in Times Square in New York, January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A man stands with an umbrella at the Junction Boulevard stop of the 7 subway train line in the Queens borough of New York January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

US cities from Boston to New York and Philadelphia are shutting down against a monster storm that could unload up to three feet of snow on a region of more than 35 million people.

Snow blew sideways with ever-increasing intensity in New York City and flurries began in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard and the brunt of it would hit this morning.

More than 7,700 flights in and out of the north east were cancelled and many of them may not take off again until tomorrow. Schools and businesses finished early and state government offices closed.

Cities mobilised snowploughs and gritters to deal with a dangerously windy blast that could instantly make up for what has been a largely snow-free winter in the urban north east.

Streets across the region were nearly empty last night, with most workers home for the evening.

All too aware that big snowstorms can make or break politicians, governors and mayors moved quickly to declare emergencies and order the shutdown of highways, streets and mass transport systems - perhaps for days - to prevent travellers from getting stranded and to enable ploughs and emergency vehicles to get through.

New York City's subway systems and buses shut down completely at 11pm. Commuter railways across the north east also announced plans to stop running overnight.

"This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in the history of New York City," New York mayor Bill de Blasio warned. He urged people to go home and stay there.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for a 250-mile swathe of the region, meaning heavy, blowing snow and potential white-out conditions.

Coastal residents braced for a powerful storm surge and the possibility of damaging flooding and beach erosion, particularly in New Jersey and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. New Jersey shore towns warned people to move their cars off the streets and away from the water.

Utility companies put additional crews on standby to deal with anticipated power cuts from high winds.

The storm interrupted jury selection in the Boston Marathon bombing case and forced a postponement in opening statements in the murder trial of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez in Massachusetts.

A group of youth from Texas play snow-ball-fighting on a deserted street in New York's Times Square
A group of youth from Texas play snow-ball-fighting on a deserted street in New York's Times Square
A group of youth from Texas play snow-ball-fighting on a deserted street in New York's Times Square
A group of youth from Texas play snow-ball-fighting on a deserted street in New York's Times Square
A group of youth from Texas play snow-ball-fighting on a deserted street in New York's Times Square
A man salts a walkway in Times Square in New York City
A man uses a snow thrower in Times Square

The Washington DC area was expecting only a couple of inches of snow. But the House of Representatives postponed votes scheduled for last night because members were having difficulty flying back to the nation's capital after the weekend.

On Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange said it would operate normally today, but all the Broadway theatres were closed.

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