U.S. News Headlines

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow paralyses US Mid-Atlantic

Planes were grounded, trains stood still and Greyhound buses were not rolling in the Mid-Atlantic, leaving stranded US travellers wondering when they would be able to escape the icy, grey mess created by a major snowstorm.

Hundreds of thousands of homes were without power with temperatures below freezing all day, with utilities warning it could be days before it was all restored.

Ploughs had scraped down to bare pavement on some main routes while not touching streets in many areas buried by 2ft or more.

The government has made the decision to close agencies, and many school districts across the region were giving pupils a snow day. For those stranded, however, the thought of another "weekend" day was not much to smile about.

The National Weather Service called the storm "historic" and reported a foot of snow in parts of Ohio and 2ft or more in Washington, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Parts of Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia got closer to 3ft.

Many roads reopened but officials continued to warn residents that main roads were still icy, a remnant from the storm President Barack Obama called "Snowmageddon".

But in the capital Washington, the sun was finally shining on Sunday and the sounds of shovels could be heard on streets.

The snow snapped tree limbs on to power lines and several roofs collapsed under the weight. Making matters worse, the weather service issued a storm watch.

In Philadelphia, 28.5ins of snow fell during the storm, just shy of the record 30.7ins during the January 1996 blizzard. Snow totals were even higher to the west in Pennsylvania.

Washington's Reagan National Airport, which had cancelled all flights, had not decided when flights could resume. At nearby Dulles International Airport in Virginia, some flights were taking off.