US snowstorm fails to eventuate in New York, hits New England

January 27, 2015 7:53 pm

It was dubbed a Tidal Wave of Snow, a Snow Hurricane and Historic,
but in the end the predicted blizzard forecasters said would hit New
York and other major northeast US cities was just a snowstorm.

A man uses a shovel with a wheel to clean out a sidewalk following an overnight snowstorm in Jersey City. Photo / AP Some
weathermen offered sheepish apologies after airports were closed,
public transport was shutdown and travel was banned based on the
The bans in New York and New Jersey were lifted by mid-morning on Tuesday local time.
deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of
the general public,” National Weather Service meteorologist in New
Jersey, Gary Szatkowski, wrote in a tweet.
The storm heaped snow
on Massachusetts, with total accumulation was expected to reach or
exceed 2 feet (about half a metre) in most of the state, potentially
making it one of the top snowstorms of all time there.

Coastal residents braced for a powerful storm surge and the
possibility of damaging flooding and beach erosion, particularly on the
Cape Cod peninsula.
As dawn broke, New York City had an almost
eerie feel to it. No airplanes in the sky and no trains running
underground made for an unexpected quiet. Light snow fell steadily in
midtown Manhattan as a few municipal trucks rumbled down empty streets.
originally warned the storm could be historic, bringing up to 3 feet
(about a metre) of snow and punishing hurricane-force winds. But early
Tuesday, they downgraded most of those numbers, saying Boston and the
northeastern New England region would fare the worst, but even then not
as bad as expected.
As of midmorning, the Boston area had about a
foot (30 centimetres) of snow, while the far eastern tip of New York’s
suburban Long Island had more than 2 feet (about half a metre). Snowplow
operators around New England struggled to keep up, and Boston police
drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals.
and New Hampshire each declared a state of emergency, and government
offices in both states were closed. Cities in eastern Connecticut had
accumulated more than a foot (30 centimetres) of snow.
“At 4
o’clock this morning, it was the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Larry
Messier, a snowplow driver in Connecticut. “You could plow, and then
five minutes later you’d have to plow again.”
As the storm system
spun northward, conditions improved quickly. Travel bans were lifted by
midmorning in New Jersey and New York. New York City buses, subways and
trains were restarting on a limited basis, and a return to full service
was expected Wednesday.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended
his statewide ban on travel as “absolutely the right decision to make”
in light of the dire forecast.
“We were acting based on what we were being told,” he said.
National Weather Service over the weekend had issued a blizzard warning
for a 250-mile (400-kilometre) swath of the region, meaning heavy,
blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions.
More than 7,700
flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them
might not take off again until Wednesday. Schools and businesses let out
early. Government offices closed. Shoppers stocking up on food jammed
supermarkets and elbowed one another for what was left. Broadway stages
went dark.
New York City’s snowfall was still substantial: La
Guardia International Airport recorded 11 inches (28 centimetres) of
snow, and Central Park was blanketed with almost 8 inches (20
But Susanne Payot, a cabaret singer whose rehearsal
was canceled, was not impressed: “I’m just surprised and I’m laughing
out loud. This is nothing. I don’t understand why the whole city shut
down because of this.”

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