New York— Northeasterners scraped and shoveled Wednesday after a snowstorm grounded flights, shuttered schools and buried roads with a surprising amount of snow, leaving biting cold in its wake. The atmosphere was particularly frosty in New York, where some residents complained that plowing was spotty and schools were open while children elsewhere in the region stayed home.
The storm stretched from Kentucky to New England but hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. As much as 14 inches of snow fell in Philadelphia, with New York City seeing almost as much, before tapering off. Temperatures were in the single digits in many places Wednesday and not expected to rise out of the teens.
Facing one of the first flashpoints of his weeks-old tenure, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the response to a storm he said caused a worse-than-expected headache when it ramped up at rush hour.
“We had a coordinated, intense, citywide response,” de Blasio said.
The mayor and city Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said the cleanup effort was equitable and robust, though complicated by traffic and the storm’s timetable. Those factors made it difficult to plow and spread salt, Doherty said. The wind and snow were so blinding that police pulled traffic agents out of many intersections.
The plowing problems combined with a late-night decision to keep open the nation’s largest public schools system had some parents grumbling.
One parent, Pamela Murphy Jennings, said her two children navigated snowy sections of tony Madison and Park avenues to get to their public schools on the Upper East Side.
“Children have to walk to city bus stops and cross these streets to get here,” she said. “Cars are sliding on roads. If there was any day to close schools, this was the day.”
Schoolchildren had the day off elsewhere, including in Boston, Philadelphia and many parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, upstate New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.