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East Coast still reeling from deadly blizzard

Last Updated Jan 25, 2016 9:27 AM EST

Cities from the Carolinas to Massachusetts are digging out after a major winter storm ripped through the East Coast over the weekend.

There were at least 32 deaths related to the massive storm and seven states and Washington D.C. declared states of emergency.

Much of the nation's capital will remain frozen, as the federal government and schools remain shut down. Anyone who gets stuck on the roads could face fines as the mayor is asking people to stay home. The goal is to keep people off the roads so that by Tuesday, people may be able to make it to work, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.

"While we have made some progress, there is still a lot of work to do," said Mayor Muriel Bowser.

There's no way a car could drive through side streets and the main roads are often full of pedestrians avoiding iced over sidewalks.

The Metro is back open, but with only limited service. Amtrak is also running modified service in the Northeast.

Plows tried but couldn't keep up as snow fell for a solid day and a half in D.C. and surrounding region.

The National Guard was activated and the city brought in 400 additional pieces of snow removal equipment.

Sixty-nine-year-old Raymond Tolson volunteered to help dig out the elderly. When the city suggested two of his neighbors, he did their homes and eight more.

"Senior citizens can't get out here and walk in the snow like this," Tolson said.

The suburbs got it worse, some getting more than three feet of snow on the ground. Huge mounds had to be cleared from Maryland interstates and at Washington's airports, it's been an around-the-clock effort to get the runways back open for flights Monday morning.

Airlines are hoping to be back to something resembling normal operations in D.C. Monday afternoon.

Chris Paolino, spokesperson for Reagan International and Dulles International airports, said people should be expecting "larger-than-usual crowds" and residual delays in both airports.

"The storm of this magnitude affecting so many airports across the country -- it is going to take a while for the air travel system as a whole to get back to normal," Paolino said.

The National Weather Service is investigating reports the official snow total for D.C. was taken incorrectly - that more snow fell than the official 17.8 inches. The nearby National Zoo recorded 22.4 inches.

New York City is also surging back to life after getting hammered by its second biggest snowstorm on record. Five people in the city died from shoveling, reports CBS News correspondent David Begnaud.

The system hit much harder than first expected, with nearly 27 inches falling in just 24 hours.

"We survived and then some," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

By Sunday, all major roads were cleared, Broadway reopened and most buses and trains were back in service. Passengers packed Pennsylvania Station Sunday night as train travel resumed, but parts of the nation's busiest commuter railroad are still shut down.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called it "a cautionary tale."

"It was an example to us, the fact that we have to be prepared for storms that move very fast that evolve very rapidly and could end up being a lot bigger than originally predicted," the mayor said.

But in Queens, where some 850 plows were deployed, some streets were still buried.

"What about us? We're stuck here," said one driver. "We're all wondering what happened to the sanitation department, why they didn't care about these blocks?"

Others struggled to dig out their cars - that is, if they could find them.

Kelly Langer spent hours helping free her neighbor's vehicle.

"I wish it were summer right now. I don't really like it. I don't want to see it again," Langer said.


The winter storm also put several towns under water and forced thousands without power. It's déjà vu for many communities along the New Jersey shore, after floodwaters and winds rivaling Hurricane Sandy pounded the coast over the weekend, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

During Superstorm Sandy, nearby Cape May reported a record tide of just over eight-and-a-half feet. Over the weekend, it was more than half a foot higher.

In Wildwood, a storm surge topping three feet carried boats into streets, while 50 miles-per-hour winds ripped away signs.

Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said about 100 people were forced to evacuate.

"We're at a low tide and you can still see the water that's trapped in these areas," said the mayor."The fact that the water came up as high as it did caught a lot of people off guard. We didn't expect these kinds of tides."

Those tides crested above nine feet in some areas, flooding roads across the South Jersey shore and stranding vehicles and drivers. "We've seen docks on the road and a lot of flooding in the stores," said a North Wildwood resident.

Ice flows covered streets in several towns. At one point, 94,000 power outages were reported across the state.

On Saturday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was confident in his state's response to the "big storm." "It's our 17th snow emergency in my six years as governor, so we know how to do this," Gov. Christie said.

But people in Wildwood like Marisa Rigby said more could be done.

"I don't know how he could possibly say that. I've been down here about five years and I've never seen flooding this bad," Rigby said.

Nationally, more than 12,000 flights and counting have been cancelled. So far, more than 1,400 flights have already been canceled Monday.