Major winter storm wallops U.S. Northeast
The National Weather Service reported snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states — only Florida was spared.
Wed, Jan 12 2011 at 7:37 AM
CANCELED: New York's John F. Kennedy airport, which had 6 inches of snow, had 300 flights canceled, and LaGuardia airport saw another 650 flights canceled, officials said.(Photo: ZUMA Press)
NEW YORK - The second major snow storm of the winter season pelted the U.S. Northeast with about 8 inches of snow on Wednesday, snarling traffic and canceling flights, but it was not enough to suspend school in New York City.
The National Weather Service reported snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states — only Florida was spared — and much of the South was still battling icy conditions that made roads dangerous and led to several traffic deaths.
Airlines pre-emptively canceled hundreds of flights and companies advised some employees to work from home ahead of the storm, which also gave New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg a chance to make up for his much-criticized response to the blizzard that paralyzed New York less than two weeks ago.
New York's John F. Kennedy airport, which had 6 inches of snow, had 300 flights canceled, and LaGuardia airport saw another 650 flights canceled, officials said.
Financial markets were expected to operate normally, though possibly with lower volume.
Oil prices crept higher with benchmark Brent crude above $98 a barrel for the first time in 27 months, in part because of higher heating demand in the U.S. Northeast, the world's biggest heating oil market.
Bloomberg declared a weather emergency late on Tuesday that urged the public to avoid driving, granted authorities the right to tow cars blocking snow plows and allowed emergency services to "take all appropriate and necessary steps" to ensure safety.
But after observing overnight snowfalls, city officials determined that schools would remain open. The declaration of a school "snow day" is a benchmark indicating the severity of a storm.
In the previous storm, 600 buses got stuck in the snow, and ambulances were unable to get through. Entire neighborhoods were cut off for days, denting Bloomberg's popularity as the city admitted mistakes were made in the cleanup.
On Wednesday, the snowfall had ended in New York by the morning rush hour, leaving only strong, icy winds.
Boston and other areas north of New York were still getting hit with snow falling at more than an inch per hour into Wednesday morning, a level that makes it difficult for plows to keep pace.
New York's Central Park was hit with 8.8 inches, NY 1 television reported. The Sanitation Department, which is in charge of plowing the streets, said major arteries were clear and that 50 to 75 percent of secondary streets had been plowed at least once.
"The condition of the roadways is very good... It's looking good out there this morning," Sanitation Department Commissioner John Doherty told NY1.
The previous storm — the sixth largest in city history — dumped 20 inches on New York's Central Park over 17 hours on December 26 and 27.
Continental Airlines said it had canceled 244 flights, mainly from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, for Tuesday evening. JetBlue said it has canceled 109 flights for Tuesday night and 137 for Wednesday across the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic region.
American Airlines canceled 350 flights at airports between Boston and Washington overnight and into Wednesday morning.
(Additional reporting by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Vicki Allen)
Copyright 2011 Reuters US Online Report Domestic News
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