Bitter cold to linger as US digs out from snow

2014-01-22 17:55
The White House blanketed with snow in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan, AFP)

The White House blanketed with snow in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan, AFP)

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New York - The northeastern United States on Wednesday dug out from a storm that dumped over 30.5cm of snow in many places with frigid, windy weather keeping some schools and offices closed and flights cancelled.

Wind gusts well over 48km/h across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, combined with plunging temperatures predicted to last several days, promised to preserve the powdery, drifting snow, according to Weather.com.

Airports reported 1 556 cancelled flights on Wednesday, with New York's LaGuardia airport scuttling 34% of its scheduled traffic, 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 suburbs of Long Island, where more than 33cm of snow already covered the ground.

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

Delaware's state offices stayed closed and a state of emergency remained in effect. Federal offices in Washington 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 27cm 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 ploughing delays they saw as punishment by the mayor, according to The New York Post.

The city said ploughing 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 38cm 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 -18°C, and many other areas in the northeast will not see the mercury rise above -7°C, Corfidi said.

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