Bitter cold to linger in northeast US

2014-01-23 09:10

New York/Maplewood - The northeastern United States on Wednesday dug out from a storm that dumped more than 38 cm of snow in some places with frigid, windy weather closing some schools and offices and delaying or canceling thousands of flights.

Wind gusts over 48 km/h were forecast for parts of the Atlantic coast, with temperatures below minus 12 Celsius across much of the New York metropolitan area, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's brutal out here," said Ian Chapin, 28, an appliance repairman pumping fuel into his work vehicle at a gas station outside Philadelphia as a stiff wind blew.

US airports reported more than 2 000 delayed or canceled flights on Wednesday, with New York's LaGuardia airport the hardest-hit, according to FlightAware.com.

Blizzard warnings remained in effect until Wednesday afternoon, and snow continued to fall during the morning rush hour on the New York suburb of Long Island, where more than 33 cm of snow already covered the ground.

The deepest snowfall from the coastal storm was 40.1 cm recorded in Manalapan, New Jersey, not far from the Jersey Shore, according to the weather service.

The Philadelphia school system shut down, as did many suburban schools throughout New Jersey, Rhode Island and other states.

Freed from school, children made fresh tracks on sledding hills and enterprising teens like Daniel O'Connell, 15, of Abington, Pennsylvania, knocked on doors and offered to shovel sidewalks for a fee, typically getting a happy response.

"Usually they just have a smile on their faces, they like supporting younger kids," said O'Connell, who had a shovel hoisted over his shoulder and was bundled up in four layers of shirts, a winter jacket, long johns and jeans, as well as hand and boot warmers.

Delaware's state offices stayed closed and a state of emergency remained in effect. Federal offices in Washington, D.C. reopened with a two-hour delay.

New York City pushed toward normalcy, opening schools and even zoos, but the snowstorm that dropped a record-breaking 27 cm of powder in Central Park reportedly touched off some complaints about unequal treatment by new Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Residents of Manhattan's Upper East Side, many of whom could be a target of de Blasio's plan to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-kindergarten, complained about plowing delays they saw as punishment by the mayor, according to The New York Post. The city said plowing was under way but was not being properly tracked online because of broken equipment, the newspaper reported.

Parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey had seen about 38 cm of snow, said Stephen Corfidi with the National Weather Service.

"The real story is going to be a persistent period of cold in the wake of this system," he said.

Temperatures in western Pennsylvania will dip below minus 18 C, and many other areas in the northeast will not see the mercury rise above minus 7 C, Corfidi said.

New York City officials said their massive public transportation system, including subways, commuter trains and buses, was operating mostly on a normal schedule to help people make the cold and messy commute to work.

Matthew Thomas, a web developer, said he was happy to have someone else shovel the snow at his high-rise apartment building in the New York borough of Brooklyn.

"It is making it difficult to walk places," Thomas said. (Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Dave Warner in Philadelphia; Editing by Scott Malone and Nick Zieminski)

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