Northeast Residents Digging Out From Winter Storm - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/13/06-New York City, NY

Northeast Residents Digging Out From Winter Storm

Residents were digging out Monday from a winter storm that dumped more than two feet of snow on some parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, forcing travelers around the country to change their plans.

The storm snarled air traffic nationwide Sunday as several major airports shut down for much of the day, affecting more than 2,000 flights. Most airports had reopened by sundown, except New York's LaGuardia, which resumed service at 6 a.m. ET Monday.

More than 20 inches of snow blanketed some spots from Maryland to New England. In Central Park in New York, a record 26.9 inches of snow piled up Sunday, breaking the mark of of 26.4 inches in December 1947, the National Weather Service said.

Children took to the park to play, and fruitlessly hoped that school would be called off.

"We're hoping for 365 days off from school," 9-year-old Reagan Manz told The Associated Press. "We could go sledding the whole time and not get bored."

On Monday morning, as bright sun gleamed off the Central Park snow, an occasional jogger or dog walker could be seen navigating the icy paths.

One woman who was walking her two tiny dogs said she was still going through her normal routine before work

"Every morning we have to come out and play with the dogs," she said. "We came out [yesterday] here in the park. Dogs need walking no matter what weather it is. They had fun. We had fun. ... We had to carry one because she became a walking snowball."

Transit in New York was affected as the city's Metro Rail service was halted. The city's subway and bus systems were operating, although buses were running less frequently than usual, according to the Port Authority.

Because the storm happened on a weekend, clean up efforts were a lot smoother.

''This is a good storm for us,'' New York sanitation commissioner John Doherty told The New York Times. ''It's coming at a time when we have the ability, if people stay home, to get out there and plow the streets through the day and through the night.''

The city's sanitation department had 2,500 workers clearing the streets, each working 12-hour shifts as New York prepared for Monday's rush hour.

Other snowfall totals included 30.2 inches at Fairfield, Connecticut; 25.4 inches at New York's LaGuardia Airport; 21.3 inches in Columbia, Maryland, near Baltimore; and more than a foot in parts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the National Weather Service reported.

Many East Coast residents had no power. Thousands of people in New York and New Jersey lost electricity, and in Washington, where the storm pushed through Saturday night, more than 100,000 customers were without power for a while. As of Monday morning, all but 14,000 homes and businesses near the nation's capital had their electricity restored.

Crews were also standing by in Connecticut, where Al Lara, a spokesman for Northeast Utilities, told WFSB-TV that "We've had surprisingly few problems."

In Massachusetts, more than 330 schools were closed Monday, WCVB-TV reported on its Web site. The closing list included Boston where workers clearing the street also towed more than 720 cars.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino told The Boston Globe he was pleased with the city's response to the storm.

''We're pretty confident that we have this well in hand at this time," he said Sunday.

The storm had winds of up to 40 mph as it brushed the East Coast, the National Weather Service reported.

Lightning and thunder accompanied some of the snowfall. The National Weather Service calls the rare phenomenon "thundersnow."

Airport shutdowns

The heavy snow shut down Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport and all three New York City airports -- LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark-Liberty International -- Sunday, causing backups and cancellations throughout the nation.

"We don't have specific numbers on stranded passengers," said New York Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman, who said JFK and Newark had no reports of stranded passengers. "There were reports of a dozen or two at LaGuardia."

At JFK, a Turkish Air flight skidded off the runway into a grassy field after landing about 9:20 p.m. Sunday, Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman said. None of the 198 passengers aboard the trans-Atlantic flight was injured, he said.

Other incoming and outgoing international flights were delayed. British Airways said they had been forced to cancel 15 flights in 48 hours.

In Miami, Florida, Maria Martinez was just trying to get back to New Jersey.

"Our car's in Newark," she told AP. "We can't even get close to there. We can't even get to Philadelphia or D.C."

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