East Coast begins digging out after snowstorm
New York — After a weekend of sledding, snowboarding and staying put, the blizzard-blanketed Eastern U.S. will confront a Monday commute slowed by slick roads, damaged transit lines and endless mounds of snow.
Authorities cautioned against unnecessary driving, airline schedules were in disarray and commuter trains will be delayed or canceled for many as the work week begins after a storm that dumped near record snows on the densely populated Washington, D.C., to New York City corridor.
The last flakes fell just before midnight Saturday, but crews raced the clock all day Sunday to clear streets and sidewalks.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraged people to leave their plowed-in cars covered with snow all week after a 1-day record of 26.6 inches fell in Central Park.
That advice came too late for Bob Raldiris, who tried shoveling his Nissan Maxima out of a spot in Ridgewood, Queens, before passing plows and trucks spoiled his labor. “This is terrible,” he said, pointing to a pile of snow three feet high.
Sunday’s brilliant sunshine and gently rising temperatures provided a respite from the blizzard that paralyzed Washington and dropped a record 29.2 inches on Baltimore. The weekend timing could not have been better, enabling many to enjoy a gorgeous winter day.
Of at least 29 deaths blamed on the weather, shoveling snow and breathing carbon monoxide claimed more lives than car crashes.
Broadway reopened after going dark at the last minute during the snowstorm, but museums remained closed in Washington, and the House of Representatives postponed votes until February, citing the storm’s impact on travel.
Overall snowfall of 26.8 inches in Central Park made it New York’s second biggest winter storm since records began in 1869, and Saturday’s 26.6 inches made for a single-day record in the city.
The official 3-day total of 17.8 inches measured at Reagan National Airport was impossibly short of accumulations recorded elsewhere in the city. An official total of 22.4 inches landed at the National Zoo, for example.