Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Blizzard leaves US northeast struggling

BACK TO WORK The region's residents were trying to get back to work yesterday after a storm shut down transit systems and left some trapped in their homes


Snowdrifts 1.8m high kept some Massachusetts residents trapped in their homes and commuters across the northeastern US limped back to work on icy roads and packed trains on Monday as the region struggled to dig out from a paralyzing weekend blizzard.

Massachusetts saw the most snow -- a whopping 97cm in cities north and south of Boston. As much as 53cm of snow blanketed parts of New Jersey, where the morning commute was crippled by delays of more than an hour.

"We are not happy people," said Colleen Neiman, who was inching her way toward an internship in Manhattan. "All the trains are messed up. My train was an hour late. They're not going to be too happy with me at work."

Cities to the south of Boston got heavy, wet snow that that turned to ice in single-digit overnight weather, creating problems on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, where scattered power outages persisted and roads remained unplowed on Monday afternoon.

Many residents in the area were stuck at home because towns had abandoned plowing efforts while wind piled the heavy snow into gigantic drifts. People in the coastal town of Scituate south of Boston couldn't get into their homes because of shore flooding that turned to ice.

Bruce MacNayr, 46, was trapped in his home in South Dennis for 24 hours before plows reached him on Monday afternoon.

"It's the most snow I've ever seen in my life," MacNayr said. "I've seen a couple of blizzards in my lifetime, but this is the worst."

A state of emergency remained in effect for Massachusetts, but Governor Mitt Romney ordered state employees to return to work yesterday after giving nonessential personnel the day off on Monday. Most Rhode Island government workers also got the day off.

After a weekend in which flights were grounded from New England to Chicago, Boston's Logan International Airport reopened on Monday after a 30-hour storm shutdown. But then it was hit by an hour-long power outage that shut down elevators and escalators.

School closings were reported on Monday from Virginia to Maine.

About 20 deaths were believed linked to the weather, including two in Massachusetts. In New York City, witnesses told authorities a 10-year-old girl playing in the snow was struck and killed by a snowplow. Authorities are investigating.

On Cape Cod, the main route was reopened but many other major roads in the area had been opened only to a single lane between mounds of snow; many secondary roads remained impassable.

"The snow is so heavy, plows can't push it," said George Luna, who was using a front-end loader to dig out a shopping plaza parking lot in the Cape Cod town of Dennis.

Parts of New Hampshire got 60cm, and New York's Catskill Mountains collected at least 51cm. Earlier, the weather system had piled 30cm of snow across parts of the Midwest.

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