Home English News Deadly blizzard sets records, brings eastern US to standstill

Deadly blizzard sets records, brings eastern US to standstill

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Washington (dpa) – A storm that slammed the US East Coast had left more than a dozen people dead as it dumped more than 90 centimetres of snow in some areas and prompted local travel bans in New York City.

Snow was expected to taper off only early Sunday and the cost of the storm would be known only as cities from Washington to New York dig out in coming days.

Blizzard Hits Washington, DCA young boy runs through a Washington street on Saturday as blizzard conditions blanketed the US East Coast,  bringing more than 60 centimeters of snow to some areas.

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A travel ban was in place on New York City roads until Sunday morning and public transportation in Washington was to remain closed until at least Monday.

Records for snowfall had already been set at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport and the city of Baltimore and further records could be surpassed by the time the snow stops.

Eleven states had called states of emergency ahead of the storm that brought high winds that reduced visibility and created especially dangerous conditions. Some 2,200 National Guard soldiers from 12 states had been called in to assist local authorities, the Defence Department said.

At least 17 people died as a result of the storm, including traffic fatalities and heart attacks suffered while shoveling heavy snow, broadcaster NBC reported.

Winter storm in New York CityA cab in New York, 23 January 2016, as a deadly storm dumps more than a meter of snow in places of the US east coast.

Tens of thousands were without power in the eastern US state of New Jersey, said Governor Chris Christie, who had returned to deal with the emergency as he runs for the Republican presidential nomination.

The storm had earlier left motorists stranded for hours on highways in at least three states, and authorities warned drivers to stay off the road.

“We need you to stay home,” Washington mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Saturday as snow continued to fall more than 24 hours after the first flakes hit the US capital and heavy winds were reducing visibility and causing heavy drifting.

The dangerous conditions caused most people to stay home, clearing out grocers’ shelves ahead of the storm and stocking up on snow supplies.

Even top US government officials were forced to change their plans. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and Vice President Joe Biden were both diverted to Florida as they sought to return to the US after attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. Biden also met with Turkish officials in Istanbul Saturday.

Broadway shows in New York were cancelled as were basketball and hockey games scheduled for Washington Saturday and Sunday.

Snowfall as of Saturday evening reached more than 50 centimetres in parts of Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey, and New York, according to the National Weather Service.

The levels in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia were close to 100 cm in places, the service said, citing figures at 9 pm (0300 Sunday GMT) measuring the snowfall from 11 pm Thursday.

Some 40 centimetres had fallen at the White House and parts of the greater Washington region saw significantly more snow, with nearly 90 centimetres at Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

In New York, more than 70 centimetres had fallen at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the weather service said.

Flooding was reporting in coastal Delaware and New Jersey. As many as 85 million people live in the storm’s path, CNN reported.

The National Weather Service had posted a blizzard warning stretching over an area from northern Virginia to New York City. Philadelphia is also in the storm’s path.

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled on Saturday alone, according to website flightaware.com. Both of Washington’s major airports had cancelled all flights again for Sunday.