More than 220,000 homes and businesses remain remained without power on Sunday as the US Northeast and Canada dug out from a blizzard that dumped up to a meter of snow on the most densely populated part of the region. The death toll was at 15.
Some motorists had to be rescued after spending hours stuck in wet, heavy snow.
Utilities in some hard-hit New England states predicted that the storm could leave some customers in the dark at least until today. About 650,000 lost power in eight states at the height of the storm.
As the Northeast cleared roads and shoveled out, another storm bore down on the Northern Plains and tornadoes threatened the Southeast in a weekend of extreme weather across the US.
A tornado, which appeared to be 1.6km wide touched down in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, causing significant damage, said Anna Weber of the US National Weather Service. The twister also hit the nearby town of Petal, where it destroyed a brick building.
Another round of severe weather yesterday could bring more misery, with freezing rain and more snow predicted that would make the evening commute even more difficult.
In Boston, Mayor Tom Menino canceled school yesterday after touring neighborhoods throughout the city, where 60cm of snow fell.
Boston recorded 63cm of snow, making it the fifth-largest storm in the city since records were kept. The city was appealing to the state and private contractors for more front-end loaders and other heavy equipment to clear snow piles that were clogging residential streets.
At least 11 deaths in the US and four in Canada were blamed on the snowstorm, including an 11-year-old boy in Boston who was overcome by carbon monoxide as he sat in a running car to keep warm while his father shoveled on Saturday morning.
Roads were impassable, and cars were entombed by snowdrifts. Some people couldn’t open the doors of their homes.
“It’s like lifting cement,” said Michael Levesque, who was shoveling snow in Massachusetts.
Blowing with hurricane-force winds, the storm hit hard along the heavily populated corridor between New York City and Maine.
Far east of New York City on eastern Long Island, which was slammed with as much as 76cm of snow, hundreds of snowplows and other heavy equipment were sent in on Sunday to clear ice- and drift-covered highways where hundreds of people and cars were abandoned during the height of the storm on Friday night.
“We’ve never seen anything like this,” county official Steven Bellone said on Long Island.
Hundreds of cars were stuck on roads, including the Long Island Expressway, a 43km stretch of which was closed on Sunday for snow-removal work.
Officials hoped to have most major highways cleared in time for yesterday’s morning commute.
As the region recovered, another large winter storm building across the Northern Plains was expected to leave 30cm of snow and bring high winds from Colorado to central Minnesota into yesterday, the US National Weather Service said.
South Dakota was expected to be hardest hit, with winds seen reaching 80kph, which would create white-out conditions. The storm was expected to reach parts of Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Wisconsin.
Additional reporting by Reuters