19 dead as massive blizzard paralyzes America

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Millions of residents, business owners and workers began digging out on Sunday from a massive blizzard that brought Washington, New York and other northeastern US cities to a standstill, killing at least 19 people in several states.

The storm was the second-biggest in New York City history, with 26.8 inches (68 cm) by midnight Saturday, just shy of the record 26.9 inches 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 City while shoveling snow. Two died of hypothermia in Virginia, officials said.

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

Al-Amin and Ahmad walking in a snow-covered area in BaltimoreAfter dumping about two feet of snow on the Washington area, the storm unexpectedly strengthened as it spun northward and slammed into the New York metropolitan area on Saturday, home to about 20 million people.
Winds gusting to more than 40 mph (64 kph) sculpted drifts many feet high, burying cars.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, as did 10 other governors. A ban imposed on all travel on New York City area roads and on Long Island, except for emergency vehicles, was set to end at 7 a.m.

on Sunday. Bridges and tunnels into the city were also set to reopen.

Subways running above ground and trains operated by the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North halted service on Saturday and were to be evaluated for service restoration at 6 a.m.

By early Sunday the storm had all but moved off the coastline, with remnants trailing over parts of Long Island and Cape Cod. Much of the northeast was expected to see a mix of sun and clouds on Sunday with temperatures just above freezing.

Given the massive storm’s impact, it was too soon to tell how much Wall Street’s reopening on Monday would be affected.

Broadway theaters canceled Saturday matinee and evening performances at the urging of the mayor, and a Bruce Springsteen concert set for Sunday was called off.

As an otherworldly quiet descended on the usually bustling city of 8.5 million, the nation’s most populous, tourists and residents took to city streets, venturing into the expanses of parks, some on skis. Others built snowmen and had snowball fights.

Authorities in New York and New Jersey halted public transportation and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority took the rare step of suspending operations through Sunday.

About 3,500 flights were canceled on Sunday, with more than 600 already canceled for Monday, said FlightAware.com, the aviation data and tracking website.

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