Fresh snowstorm adds to chaos on US east coast

THE second major snowstorm in a week yesterday swept up the US east coast, piling on already-snowbound Washington, where most federal government offices have been shut down since last week, and moving on to New York City.

The storm dumped about 10 inches (25cm) of snow on parts of the Washington area that already had been hit with three feet (90cm) in a blizzard over the weekend. New York, which managed to avoid last week’s blizzard, was not so lucky yesterday.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings and predicted 10 to 16 inches of snowfall. Airlines have cancelled hundreds of flights at New York-area airports, and the city school system’s 1.1 million students enjoyed a “snow day” — only the third in six years. Snow was falling from northern Virginia to Connecticut yesterday after crawling out of the midwest, where the storm cancelled hundreds of flights and was blamed for three road accident deaths in Michigan. In the Washington area, the storms have kept some workers and students at home for the better part of a week. About 230,000 federal workers in Washington have been off since Friday, when the first storm began. The US House of Representatives has scrapped the rest of its work week. “It’s embarrassing the world’s largest superpower closes from a few feet of snow,” said Alex Krause, 23, of Los Angeles, who was stranded in Washington. “The Kremlin must be laughing,” he added.

But the effects of the federal government’s closure were negligible since about 85% of federal employees work outside the Washington region. Before the latest storm, Washington and Philadelphia were nine inches away from their snowiest winters since 1884, the first year records were kept. “It’s hard to find anything in the history books of these types of storms back-to-back,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Konarik.

Thousands remained without power from the last storm in Pennsylvania, Maryland and other areas, and deep snow and winds were expected to complicate efforts to restore power.


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