Monday, January 25, 2016

East Coast Region Reported Snowfalls Not Seen in Generations (VIDEO)

At the New York Times, "After East Coast Blizzard, the Cleanup and the Workweek Begin":

While New York City emerged from the season’s first blizzard with relatively little damage, the toll along the Eastern Seaboard as a whole was more sobering: 29 deaths related to the storm, thousands of homes without power and serious flooding in coastal areas.

The great dig-out began with officials in New York lifting a travel ban, and airlines and commuter railroads slowly resumed service.

In separate appearances on CNN on Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that most mass transportation services were operating normally for the morning commute, with the exception of some parts of the Long Island Rail Road, where workers were still struggling to remove snow and ice.

But in other places along the East Coast, the tone was less upbeat.

In Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said on Sunday that she could not give a timeline for clearing the streets. In Washington, the leadership of the House of Representatives — scheduled to convene on Monday for a pro forma session — said no votes would be held this week. Federal offices will be closed on Monday, as will state offices in Maryland and Virginia.

“This was a major event,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia said during a news conference. “I caution everybody, this is going to take a long time to clean up this snow.” He said that crews from as far away as Connecticut were on the way to help.

For officials, Sunday was a day to transition from blizzard mode to cleanup. For those with no official role to play, it was a day for sledding, snowboarding or snowshoeing — or lobbing snowballs and building snowmen. The bleak gray of Saturday — and the piercing wind that drove the snow — gave way to bright colors on Sunday, with a warm orange sun climbing across a brilliant azure sky.

Officials prepared for Monday and the start of the workweek, when a challenge would be moving commuters over rail lines stiff from the weekend’s assault of snow and punishing temperatures. New York City, where schools will be open,faced another challenge — picking up busloads of schoolchildren in streets with snowdrifts on every corner.

On Monday morning, yellow school buses struggled and hordes of parents with small children staggered, but school started on schedule in Corona, Queens, after students arrived through streets still caked in snow.

“The mayor made his decision yesterday; school is open, so I don’t want him to miss a day,” said Luis Molina, 56, a cleaner, after he hugged and kissed his son, Jason Molina, 10, who is in fourth grade at Public School 19.

The storm swirled out to sea after brushing Massachusetts, leaving behind what the National Weather Service called “copious” accumulations from Virginia to New York: 29.2 inches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, a record; 22.4 inches at Philadelphia International Airport; and 28.1 inches at Newark Liberty International Airport. In Washington, the National Zoo reported 22.4 inches for the weekend, and other places reported totals not seen in years if not generations: 28.2 inches in Roselle Park, N.J.; 33.5 inches in Frederick, Md.; 39 inches in Philomont, Va.; and 42 inches in Glengary, W.Va.

The Weather Service recorded 26.8 inches in Central Park, missing a record by one-tenth of an inch. But Saturday’s total of 26.6 inches was a record for a single day (the other 0.2 inches fell on Friday). The one-day record beat 24.1 inches, set during a two-day storm in 2006. That storm retained its place as the city’s snowiest.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that major roads had been cleared by Sunday afternoon, putting much of the city in a position to ease back into weekday commuting routines on Monday. Tunnels and bridges into the city, all of which had been closed during the storm, reopened on Sunday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Service had been suspended during the storm on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, as well as the aboveground routes of the subway and on the Staten Island Railway. All started rolling again on Sunday, though some remained on reduced schedules. Buses in the city also returned to the streets...
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