A full-blown blizzard pounded the northeast from yesterday into today, making roadways hazardous, shutting down transit systems and causing at least one state government to declare a state of emergency.
The storm, after devastating the Midwest and the south, came east with a vengeance on Sunday and, with winds gusting above 50 miles per hour, dumped snow from Virginia to Maine, with New Jersey and parts of New York getting hit especially hard.
As of 4 a.m. EST, the National Weather Service was reporting Lyndhurst, NJ, with 29 inches of snow, Elizabeth, NJ with 26.5 inches, Tuxedo, NY with 26 inches and Brooklyn, NY with 17.5 inches.
With heavy winds, the snow is forming in places into drifts several feet high.
Amtrak, on Sunday, canceled train service between Boston and New York City. Crews have been working through the night to clear the tracks. Amtrak has not said when it will resume running trains, but limited service is expected later today.
Trains also were canceled between Boston and Portland, ME, and between Richmond and Newport News, VA. Service between New York and Washington has not been affected.
The Long Island Railroad has also canceled service due to the storm. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority issued this statement:
Due to the extreme nature of the ongoing blizzard, including high winds and major snow drifts, the MTA is urging its customers to stay home this morning if at all possible. There are major suspensions across our transportation network that may continue through the morning rush hour, including a full suspension of service on the Long Island Rail Road, suspension of Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line, and suspension of several of the lettered subway lines.
Please continue to monitor www.mta.info throughout the morning, but for your safety and the safety of our employees and equipment, please plan on staying home this morning unless it is urgent that you travel.
In New Jersey, which has taken the brunt of the blizzard, Acting Governor and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney declared a state of emergency late Sunday. Gov. Christie was out of the state.
We have been monitoring the situation throughout the afternoon. Based on current conditions and the forecast I am declaring a state of emergency throughout New Jersey, Sweeney said. It is vital that police and public works crews are able to do their jobs. I urge all residents to take this declaration and this storm seriously, and to stay safe, stay home and stay off the roads.
NJ transit has suspended all bus service and some train service and urges people who must travel to check www.njtransit.com for the latest updates.
Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights and left thousands of holiday season passengers stranded.
According to published reports, Delta Airlines has canceled 850 flights; United Airlines canceled 110 flights on Sunday; U.S. Airways has canceled 679 flights so far, and is canceling another 110 Monday flights in the northeast. Continental has canceled 265 flights and American Airlines has nixed 262 flights Sunday and another 171 flights Monday.
Airlines spokespersons said to expect more flight cancellations and flight delays at all airports in the northeast throughout Monday.
Cancellations are due not only to the blizzard, but also because of the high winds, which make de-icing the craft extremely difficult, airline officials said.
The National Weather Service said blizzard warnings remain in effect for coastal sections of the northern mid-Atlantic states, much of coastal new England and the New York Metropolitan area.
The storm walloped the Midwest and south last week, giving Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi an unusual white Christmas, dumping snow accumulations of over 10 inches on parts of Iowa, North Carolina and Virginia, and crippling northern Midwest states.
So far, 22 deaths have been attributed to the storm.