Bitter cold lingers as Northeast digs out from a foot of snow

A worker clears snow from a walkway on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 22, 2014.
JONATHAN ERNST | REUTERS
A worker clears snow from a walkway on the west front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, January 22, 2014.
Posted Jan. 22, 2014, at 9:25 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 22, 2014, at 6:44 p.m.

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. — Residents of the northeastern United States on Wednesday dug out from a deadly storm that dumped more than 15 inches of snow in some places, with frigid temperatures closing schools and delaying or canceling thousands of flights.

Maine was spared the brunt of the storm, with Down East areas seeing only light snowfall. But bitter cold moved in across the entire state, prompting wind chill advisories.

At least two deaths were blamed on the weather, which made roads treacherous. Near Emmitsburg, Md., a driver lost control and slammed into a tractor-trailer, Maryland State Police reported. In Versailles, Ky., a woman’s car hit a tree after skidding on an icy highway, local police said.

Wind gusts over 30 miles per hour were forecast for parts of the Atlantic Coast, with temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit across much of the New York area, according to the National Weather Service.

The NWS issued a wind chill advisory through Thursday morning in most of Maine, with temperatures feeling as cold as 33 below in the north and as low as 25 below in Penobscot and Washington counties.

The single-digit temperatures gripping huge swaths of the nation will prove relentless, according to Accuweather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

“A total of three waves of Arctic air will blast across the Midwest and Northeast into next week,” he said.

Temperatures are likely to stay below freezing in such cities as Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland through the end of the month, with highs most days only in the teens, he said.

“In Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City and Indianapolis, temperatures may only surpass the freezing mark on one or two days through Jan. 31,” Sosnowski added.

“It’s brutal out here,” said Ian Chapin, 28, an appliance repairman braving stiff winds as he pumped fuel into his work vehicle at a gas station outside Philadelphia.

Airports reported nearly 4,400 flight delays or cancellations on Wednesday, with New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Newark Liberty International the hardest-hit, according to FlightAware.com.

Commuters shivered while waiting for delayed trains into New York City.

“It was cranky and crowded,” said Linda Beck, 37, of South Orange, N.J., a producer for Nickelodeon who was stuck on a train for an hour and a half. “Even the conductors were gripey. They couldn’t move from train to train it was so crowded.”

The heaviest snowfall was recorded in the Boston suburb of Norwell, Mass., with 18.3 inches and Manalapan, N.J., near the Jersey Shore, which measured 15.8 inches, according to the weather service.

Temperatures in the Northeast were not expected to rise above freezing before Saturday, said NWS spokesman Chris Vaccaro.

“The skies are clearing, but Arctic air is pouring into the region,” Vaccaro said.

Southeast colder than Alaska

The East Coast cold front stretched as far south as Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where a freeze watch was issued, with evening temperatures predicted in the upper 20s — colder than Anchorage, Alaska, where evening rain and low temperatures in the 30s were forecast, Vaccaro said.

The heavy snow closed schools in Philadelphia and many suburbs throughout New Jersey, Rhode Island and other states.

Enterprising teens including Daniel O’Connell, 15, of Abington, Pa., saw a chance to make some money and walked his neighborhood offering to shovel sidewalks for a fee.

“Usually they just have a smile on their faces; they like supporting younger kids,” said O’Connell, who was bundled up in four layers of shirts, a winter jacket, long johns and jeans, as well as hand and boot warmers.

Sitting on her small pink sled atop a hill in Milford, Conn., 6-year-old Katherine Cregan waited for her father to give her a push down the slope.

“It’s fun going down the hill, but I don’t like walking back up. It’s too slippery and the wind hurts my face,” she said.

Delaware’s state offices remained closed and a state of emergency stayed in effect. Federal offices in Washington reopened after a two-hour delay.

New York City pushed toward normalcy, opening schools and even zoos, but the snowstorm that dropped a record-breaking 11 inches of powder in Central Park touched off some complaints about unequal treatment by new Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The new mayor on Wednesday said all parts of the city were treated equally, responding to complaints by residents of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, many of whom could be a target of de Blasio’s plan to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-kindergarten, that their streets were being ignored as punishment.

“It’s a citywide effort … anyone who wants to play out a theory here, it’s just not accurate,” de Blasio was quoted as saying by local news radio 1010 WINS.

Snow blanketing an icy Times Square in New York failed to deter tourists, including Pablo Magnelli of Buenos Aires, who was traveling with his family.

“We are freezing. But, still, it’s a very nice city,” Magnelli said. “It was a dream to come here, so we will go out today to the sights — Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge. We want to see the city.”

In Washington, James Williams, 59, unemployed and homeless, was trying to dodge the cold by moving from building to building, and waited in the winter sun for the doors to open at the main District of Columbia public library.

“I’m making out … I have no other choice,” said Williams, who said he was seeking warmth in the library because his arthritis is affected by the cold. “I’ll be in there until it’s time to go back to the shelter.”

 

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