Thursday 19 April 2018

Blizzard-hit US east coast residents bid to get back to normal

Workers clear the tracks of snow at the Port Washington branch of the Long Island Railroad in Port Washington, New York (AP)
Workers clear the tracks of snow at the Port Washington branch of the Long Island Railroad in Port Washington, New York (AP)
Tess Jorgensson, three, helps her father dig their car out of snow in Virginia (AP)

US east coast residents clobbered by the weekend blizzard have trudged into the working week amid slippery roads, disrupted transport services and mounds of snow that buried cars and blocked pavements.

For others, the weekend extended into Monday because of closed schools and government offices.

The storm dropped snow from the Gulf Coast to New England, with near-record snowfalls tallied from Washington DC to New York City.

At least 31 people have died as a result of the storm; the deaths occurred in car accidents, from carbon monoxide poisoning and from heart attacks while shovelling snow.

Amtrak operated a reduced number of trains on all its routes and f lying remained particularly messy after nearly 12,000 weekend flights and hundreds more on Monday were cancelled.

The snow began on Friday and the last flakes fell just before midnight on Saturday. Crews worked all day Sunday to clear streets devoid of their usual bustle, b ut one day was not enough to clear many roads.

Cars parked in neighbourhoods were encased in snow, some of it pushed from the streets by ploughs. Pavement entrances were blocked by mounds of snow.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged people to leave their ploughed-in cars all week. Some did not have a choice; ploughs clearing streets buried cars under a mound of ice and snow.

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

Overall snowfall of 26.8in (68cm) in Central Park made it New York's second biggest winter storm since records began in 1869, and Saturday's 26.6in (67.6cm) made for a single-day record in the city.

Washington's records were less clear. The official three-day total of 17.8in (45cm) measured at Reagan National Airport was well short of accumulations recorded elsewhere in the city. An official total of 22.4in (56.9cm) landed at the National Zoo, for example.

The zoo remained closed but a video of its giant panda Tian Tian making snow angels got more than 48 million views.

Press Association

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