(In paragraph 21, corrects New York governor's name to Andrew,
not Mario, Cuomo. Error first occurred in update 1.)
By Scott Malone and Victoria Cavaliere
BOSTON/NEW YORK Jan 3 A heavy snowstorm and
dangerously cold conditions gripped the northeastern United
States on Friday, delaying flights, paralyzing road travel and
closing schools and government offices across the region.
Boston was hardest-hit by the first major winter storm of
2014, getting nearly 14 inches (35 cm) of snow, while some towns
north of New England's largest city saw close to two feet (60
cm) of accumulation.
Snow and cold stretched from the lower Mississippi Valley to
the Atlantic coast, with Washington and New York's morning
commutes also hampered by several inches (cm) of fresh powder.
Meteorologists said the snow would taper off across much of
the region by late morning, but dangerously cold conditions were
expected to linger into Saturday. The National Weather Service
said the mass of Arctic air would drop temperatures to 20 to 30
degrees Fahrenheit (11-17 C) below normal, with record lows
possible in some areas on Friday.
"Over the next 24 hours we are going to see temperatures
like we haven't seen in quite a while," said Peter Judge, a
spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
"Parts of the state are going to see temperatures 20 degrees
below zero (F/-29 C) -- not with wind-chill, real temperatures.
It's going to be problematic."
Washington received more than 2 inches (5 cm) of snow,
Baltimore some 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 cm), Philadelphia roughly
5 inches (13 cm), Hartford 6 to 10 inches (15-25 cm) and Boston
some 14 inches (36 cm).
Some 1,708 U.S. flights were canceled and 949 were delayed
early on Friday, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks air
Newark Liberty International Airport, LaGuardia Airport in
New York and Boston Logan International Airport reported the
most canceled departures.
New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport suspended
operations as the city's three major airports prepared hundreds
of cots to accommodate stranded travelers.
The United Nations in New York and federal courts in New
Jersey shut down, and New York public schools and the City
University of New York closed. Schools were also closed in
Hoboken and Jersey City, in New Jersey, and in Boston and
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told CNN Friday morning
that most schools and colleges in the state were closed. The
governors of New York and New Jersey declared states of
'NOT TOO HAPPY'
The storm posed the first major challenge to Bill de Blasio,
the newly elected mayor of New York.
De Blasio said nearly 2,500 snow plows were on the streets
of the biggest U.S. city as of early Friday, with the top
accumulations 6.5 inches (16.5 cm).
De Blasio posted a photo of himself on his Twitter feed,
shoveling the walk in front of his Brooklyn brownstone. He urged
New Yorkers to stay home, saying, "This has been and remains a
Some New Yorkers grumbled about the city's response.
"I'm sure mayor de Blasio is doing what he can, but a lot of
the streets haven't been cleared at all and I'm not too happy
about that," said Anesha Jones, 26, as she walked through
Brooklyn to her job as a bank teller. She added that bus and
subway delays added an hour to her regular commute.
Others took the storm in stride.
"It's winter. It snowed. It happens," said Mark Kulpa as he
shoveled a sidewalk outside his Brooklyn workplace.
He said the response was better than a Christmas 2010
blizzard, where then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg came under heavy
criticism for the city's slow response while he was out of town
"At least they are out plowing and spreading salt. That's
already a step up," Kulpa said. "But really, what can you say in
two days and just after a big storm?"
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the storm had little
impact on New York City's transportation network, but
blizzard-like conditions meant rail service on Long Island would
run on weekend schedules.
In Massachusetts, 3,338 crews were clearing roads, with 999
working on the heavily hit North Shore district alone, the state
Department of Transportation said.
In Boston, downtown was sparsely populated, with many
workers heeding Governor Deval Patrick's suggestion to stay home
and avoid traveling on icy roadways.
The heaviest snowfall came north of Boston, where the towns
of Boxford and Topsfield, about 24 miles (39 km) away, each saw
close to two feet (60 cm) of accumulation.
In Washington, the Office of Personnel Management told
hundreds of thousands of federal workers they could work from
home or take an unscheduled leave because of the storm.
A city worker in Philadelphia was killed after a machine he
was using was crushed by a mound of de-icing rock salt, NBC News
reported. In Chicago, a man was in critical condition after
being pulled out of an icy Lake Michigan by fire fighters.
Massachusetts officials were also watching for possible
coastal flooding in communities including the wealthy town of
Scituate, located about 30 miles (48 km) south of Boston, and
parts of the Cape Cod beach resort areas.
Some residents of low-lying areas evacuated their homes
overnight ahead of the last high tide, which came at midnight
(0500 GMT), Judge said, with more evacuations expected ahead of
the next high tide at noon (1700 GMT).
(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by
Clive McKeef, Alden Bentley and Nick Zieminski)