Record-setting snow buries Northeast
NEW YORK – A record-breaking storm buried sections of the Northeast under more than 2 feet of snow on Sunday, frustrating thousands of marooned travelers but enthralling winter-lovers who took to the streets with cross-country skis and snowshoes.The timing of the storm helped transportation workers who plowed streets in relatively light weekend traffic and expected to have roadways ready for Monday’s rush hour.All three of the major New York-area airports were closed for much of the day, and airlines canceled more than 500 inbound and departing flights – 200 each at LaGuardia and Newark airports and 120 at Kennedy. By Sunday evening, Newark and Kennedy reopened with limited service.A Turkish Airlines flight skidded off a runway at Kennedy as it landed at 9:20 p.m., but none of the 198 passengers was injured, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.The storm came on the heels of an unusually mild January that had people shedding jackets and ski resorts lamenting lost business.”It’s sort of crazy because it was so warm a couple of weeks ago and now we have knee-deep snow,” said Skye Drynan, walking her dogs Bella and Forest in Manhattan.Winds gusted up to 60 mph and in a rare display of lightning lit up the falling snow before dawn in the New York and Philadelphia areas, producing muffled winter thunder.The National Weather Service said 26.9 inches of snow fell in Central Park, the most for a single storm since record-keeping started in 1869. The old record was 26.4 inches in December 1947.”We might not see anything like this again in our lifetime,” Jason Rosenfarb said as he walked with his 5-year-old daughter Haley in Central Park. Just then Haley jumped head first into the snow and said: “Help me out. There’s too much snow.”New York officials expected to have all roads cleared – which costs the city about $1 million per inch – by Monday morning.Elsewhere, 21 inches of snow fell at Columbia, Md., between Baltimore and Washington, as well as at East Brunswick, N.J., Hartford, Conn., and West Caln Township west of Philadelphia, the National Weather Service said. Philadelphia’s average for an entire winter is about 21 inches.”It’s going to be a menace trying to clean it up,” said Mayor Scott T. Rumana in Wayne, N.J.Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell said state government would be closed Monday for Lincoln’s Birthday, allowing people to stay at home one more day.”Lucky for us, it will keep some traffic off the highways,” Rell said.The airport closures and grounded planes stranded travelers elsewhere across the country. About 7,500 people were stuck just at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, spokesman Steve Belleme said.”We’ve been playing cards for two hours. We expect to play a lot more cards,” said Cliff Jefferson whose flight was among the more than 80 canceled at the Miami International Airport.Delta Air Lines canceled arrivals and departures at Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn.Service in and out of New York’s Pennsylvania Station on the Long Island Rail Road was canceled, and Metro North rail service to the northern suburbs was curtailed. New Jersey Transit suspended all bus service statewide. Amtrak reported a few cancelations and delays in the Northeast Corridor but said most trains remained in service.Still, many people took the storm in stride, in spite of drifts that made sidewalks tortuous, if not impassable. Lynda Carpentero didn’t let the snow keep her away from yoga class at a neighborhood gym in Brooklyn.”We were afraid we would fall on our heads before we stood on them,” Carpenter said.