Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

A travel ban for the New York area was lifted but Washington was still at a standstill after a blizzard paralysed the north-eastern United States, killing at least 24 people.

The storm, dubbed Snowzilla walloped several states over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, affecting an estimated 85m residents who were told to stay off the roads and hunker down indoors for their own safety

The storm was the second-biggest in New York history, with 26.8in (68cm of snow in Central Park by midnight on Saturday, just shy of the record 26.9in set in 2006, the National Weather Service said.

Thirteen people were killed in weather-related car crashes in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia on Saturday.

One person died in Maryland and three in New York while shovelling snow.

Two died of hypothermia in Virginia, officials said.

By yesterday the storm had moved off the coast, with remnants trailing over parts of Long Island and Cape Cod. Much of the north-east began to see a mix of sun and clouds but with temperatures just above freezing.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

In Washington workers were clearing footpaths and alleys, and Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a call for 4,000 people to help dig the city out, above the 2,000 volunteers already signed up.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which includes the second-busiest US subway system, had suspended operations.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

New York governor Andrew Cuomo lifted a travel ban on New York-area roads and on Long Island at 7am yesterday A state of emergency imposed by Cuomo was still in place.

Bridges and tunnels into the city also reopened, and subways running above ground were set to restart service later last night.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

The National Weather Service said 17.8in (45.2 cm) fell in Washington, tying as the fourth-largest snowfall in the city’s history.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport notched a record 29.2in (74.2cm), and the deepest total was 42in (106.7cm) fell at Glengarry, West Virginia.

A spokeswoman for the New York Stock Exchange said the bourse planned to open as usual today.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

About 3,750 flights were cancelled yesterday, and 700 cancelled for today, according to FlightAware.com, the aviation data and tracking website.

Flights had begun landing at John F Kennedy International Airport and would soon start taking off from the facility, Cuomo said in a news conference.

About 150,000 customers in North Carolina and 90,000 in New Jersey lost electricity during the storm.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

On the New Jersey shore, a region hard-hit in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, the storm drove flooding towards high tides.

They were expected to reach up to 36in (91cm) above normal across the New Jersey coast, said Mitchell Gaines, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“There’s considerable danger with the tide coming up,” he said.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

Some residents had to be evacuated along the New Jersey shore as waters rose. In the town of Wildwood, emergency workers in inflatable boats rescued more than 100 people from homes, said Fire Chief Christopher D’Amico.

Yesterday, moderate coastal flooding was still a concern in Atlantic County but a change of wind direction would make the impact less problematic than on Saturday, said Linda Gilmore, a county public information officer.

Snowzilla in US kills at least 24 people and grinds east coast to a halt

The storm developed along the Gulf Coast when warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean collided with cold air to form the massive winter system, said meteorologists.


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