Snowstorm hammers north-east US, forcing school closures in New York and flight cancellations

A band of winter weather stretching from Maryland to Maine dumped 38cm of snow overnight on downtown Boston and 13cm on New York's Central Park, said meteorologist Marc Chenard of the National Weather Service.
A band of winter weather stretching from Maryland to Maine dumped 38cm of snow overnight on downtown Boston and 13cm on New York's Central Park, said meteorologist Marc Chenard of the National Weather Service.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - New York faced its biggest snowstorm of the winter on Monday (March 4) as snow spread across the north-eastern United States, infuriating commuters who juggled cancelled planes and trains, and faced icy travels ahead as temperatures plunged.

A band of winter weather stretching from Maryland to Maine dumped 38cm of snow overnight on downtown Boston and 13cm on New York's Central Park, said meteorologist Marc Chenard of the National Weather Service.

That was enough for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to take the rare step of shutting the nation's largest public school system and for New Jersey Transit, the largest statewide public transportation system in the United States, to cancel about a dozen commuter trains.

"This is horrible!" said Mr Steve Wesley, 56, as he shovelled snow from his driveway in Maplewood, New Jersey, a New York City suburb.

Mr Wesley's 3.2km local commute by car was delayed nearly two hours by the 10cm to 15cm of snow.

"This is not what I want to be doing," said Mr Wesley, a sales representative for a power equipment distributor. "I'm usually the first one into the office. And if I get there and the parking lot is not plowed, I'll be shovelling that too."

Nearly 1,000 US flights were cancelled, most at Boston Logan International and New York area airports, according to FlightAware.com.

 

Government offices and libraries in Boston were closed. In New Jersey, where Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, state workers had a two-hour delay.

Commuting challenges may mount over the remainder of the work week as snow melts and then temperatures drop, icing over roadways.

"Each day is a little bit cooler," said Mr Chenard, noting the week's highest temperatures for the North-east will be in the low 30s (around -1 deg C).

"You'll get some melting during the day, especially when the sun is hitting the snow, and then at night, it's going to be cold enough to refreeze. Any road surfaces that aren't treated, certainly could get icy at night into the morning."