Massive snowstorm brings north-east US to a halt
Updated 2 hours 40 minutes ago
Photo: A pedestrian does his best to make it through the driving snow with his broken umbrella in Boston, Massachusetts. (AFP/Getty Images: Mario Tama)
Map: United States
The USA’s north-east are preparing for a massive blizzard that has already grounded planes and brought cities to a standstill.
The storm is forecast to bring the heaviest snow so far this winter, threatening power and transport links for tens of millions of people.
All air travel in or out of New York has been halted as airlines ground their planes in response to the storm.
Airlines have also suspended most operations at LaGuardia, Newark Liberty and John F Kennedy International airports.
The heaviest impact of the storm is expected in and around Boston.
Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick has temporarily ordered all normal traffic off the state’s roads, with the threat of up to a year in prison for violators.
“There are a number of exemptions for … emergency workers and the like. Please exercise caution and use common sense,” he said at an emergency centre in Framingham.
In Connecticut, governor Dannel Malloy issued a “ban on motor vehicle travel on limited access highways” to free up emergency services traffic.
Rhode Island, where some of America’s most exclusive summer homes are located, also instituted driving restrictions.
In addition to the road and air snarl-ups, rail service Amtrak said trains from New York north-bound and also to the capital Washington DC were being suspended.
The storm comes a little over three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated swathes of New York and New Jersey, killing 132 people and causing damage worth some $US71.4 billion.
The National Weather Service has warned “in addition to the heavy snowfall, wind gusts of up to hurricane force are possible, especially near the coast”.
“This will result in blizzard conditions with drifting and blowing snow,” it said.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came under withering criticism for the city’s flat-footed response to a blizzard in 2010, says residents should stock up with vital supplies and prepare for the worst.
“Stay off the city streets, stay out of your cars,” he said at a news conference.
“Staying off the streets will make it easier for city workers to clear the streets of snow.”
New York’s four zoos also announced they were closing for the duration of the storm.
Forecasters say the system should blow through on Saturday (local time), with milder temperatures to follow.
Topics:snowfall, weather, united-states
First posted 2 hours 53 minutes ago