Colossal blizzard shuts down eastern United States

Colossal blizzard shuts down eastern United States

Colossal blizzard shuts down eastern United States

A general View of Times Square while snow falls on January 23, 2016 in New York. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR

Millions of residents, business owners and workers began digging out on Jan. 24 from a massive blizzard that brought Washington, New York and other northeastern U.S. cities to a standstill, killing at least 19 people in several states. 

The storm was the second-biggest in New York City history, with 68 cm (26.8 inches) by midnight Jan. 23, just shy of the record 26.9 inches set in 2006, the National Weather Service said. 

Thirteen people were killed in weather-related car crashes in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia on Jan. 23. One person died in Maryland and three in New York City while shoveling snow. Two died of hypothermia in Virginia, officials said. 

On the New Jersey shore, a region hard-hit in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, the storm drove flooding high tides. 

After dumping about two feet of snow on the Washington area, the storm unexpectedly strengthened as it spun northward and slammed into the New York metropolitan area on Jan. 23, home to about 20 million people. 

Winds gusting to more than 40 mph (64 kph) sculpted drifts many feet high, burying cars. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, as did 10 other governors. A ban imposed on all travel on New York City area roads and on Long Island, except for emergency vehicles, was on Jan. 24.  Bridges and tunnels into the city were also set to reopen. 

Subways running above ground and trains operated by the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North halted service on Jan. 23 and were to be evaluated for service restoration. 

By early Jan. 24 the storm had all but moved off the coastline, with remnants trailing over parts of Long Island and Cape Cod. 

Given the massive storm’s impact, it was too soon to tell how much Wall Street’s reopening on Jan. 25 would be affected. 

Broadway theaters canceled Jan. 23 matinee and evening performances at the urging of the mayor, and a Bruce Springsteen concert set for the same day was called off. 

As an otherworldly quiet descended on the usually bustling city of 8.5 million, the nation’s most populous, tourists and residents took to city streets, venturing into the expanses of parks, some on skis. Others built snowmen and had snowball fights. 

About 3,500 flights were canceled on Jan. 23, with more than 600 already canceled for Jan. 25, said, the aviation data and tracking website. 

The brunt of the blizzard reached the New York City area after battering Washington, where snow piled up outside the White House and famous monuments were frosted with snow. 

The record high of 28 inches of snow in Washington was set in 1922 and the biggest recent snowfall was 17.8 inches in 2010.