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Northeast Digs Out

Road crews scrambled to clear streets, and travelers stranded at airports tried to get home Monday as the Northeast dug out from a record-breaking storm that dumped two feet or more of snow across the region.

Hundreds of schools canceled Monday classes from West Virginia to Massachusetts. Utility crews worked to restore power to thousands of homes and businesses blacked out when wind gusting to 50 mph knocked down power lines.

The storm blanketed the Eastern Seaboard from North Carolina to Maine over the weekend, dropping 26.9 inches of snow in Central Park — the heaviest snowfall since record keeping began in 1869. The old record was 26.4 inches in December 1947, the National Weather Service said.

While the storm was bad, it would have been worse on a weekday.

"The headache has been minimized because it happened on a Sunday," Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Maloit said. "It was good timing for a storm of this magnitude."

Fairfield, Conn., got 30.2 inches of snow and Rahway, N.J., had 27 inches, according to unofficial observations reported to the weather service. Just west of Philadelphia, 21 inches of snow was recorded in West Caln Township; the average snowfall for an entire winter in Philadelphia is about 21 inches.

"Boston was a virtual ghost town with the exception of an occasional snow plow and a few people out for a stroll," reports Dan Rea of CBS station WBZ-TV. The city was slammed with 17.5 inches of snow.

On Massachusetts' North Shore, Salem measured 18 inches, and some areas of the state had 3-foot drifts.

Children were thrilled to dig out their sleds, little-used this winter until now.

"We're hoping for 365 days off from school," said 9-year-old Reagan Manz, playing in Central Park with friends. "We could go sledding the whole time and not get bored."

Philadelphia public and parochial classes were canceled Monday, as were schools throughout central and northeast Maryland. New York City public schools were open, although some in Long Island and private schools were closed.

A Turkish Airlines flight skidded off a runway at Kennedy as it landed Sunday at 9:20 p.m., but none of the 198 passengers was injured, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


Airlines canceled flights Sunday at major airports from Washington's Reagan National to Boston's Logan International. All three major New York-area airports had reopened by Monday morning with limited service.

At LaGuardia Airport, passengers were stranded when the airport closed Sunday evening. There were about 200 cots, but many spent the night on the floor. Most were expecting to wait some more Monday, reports WCBS-TV's Tamson Fadal. The airport didn't reopen until 6 a.m. Altogether, 500 flights were canceled in and out of the New York metro area during the storm.

"I never want to see snow again," stalled traveler Laura Guerra, 27, of Miami, said after spending the night on a cot at LaGuardia Airport. She said she hadn't seen snow since she was 4, "But I got it out of my system."

At Newark Airport, "there's more snow here," Denver-bound Elizabeth Maroney told WCBS-AM's Sean Adams. She spent the night sleeping on her snowboard. "Not very comfortable, but it was better than the floor." She won't be able to catch a flight out for another day, and she is hoping to get a hotel for Monday night, but Adams reports they're all booked up.

The airport closures and grounded planes stranded travelers across the country. About 7,500 people were stuck at Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, spokesman Steve Belleme said.

"Our car's in Newark. We can't even get close to there," said Maria Martinez, whose flight from Miami International Airport was canceled. "We can't even get to Philadelphia or D.C."

Some passengers also were stranded on the Long Island Rail Road east of New York City, where trains got stuck on snow-covered tracks, officials said. One train was marooned for five hours. Service into Penn Station in Manhattan resumed Monday morning but some branches on Long Island were still out of service.

"Usually the trains never stop. It's never been like this," said Rebecca Karpus, who was waiting to return home Monday morning on the LIRR after being marooned at Penn Station since 6:30 p.m. Sunday. "It's really paralyzed us."

Amtrak said it still had numerous storm-related schedule changes Monday morning.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said 2,200 snow plows and 350 salt spreaders were working to clear the city's 6,300 miles of streets by Monday's rush hour. He said 2,500 Department of Sanitation employees were working in 12-hour shifts, and temporary workers were being hired at $10 an hour to shovel snow.

Most highways were in good shape for the Monday morning commute, but many city streets and sidewalks were still packed with snow. Near the CBS Broadcast Center on New York's West Side, sidewalks were generally clear, but crosswalks and curbs are packed with snow or, worse, icy water.

In New Jersey, officials expected the roads to be cleared Monday.

The storm knocked out power across the Northeast, most severely in Maryland, where more than 150,000 customers were blacked out. More than 55,000 Baltimore Gas & Electric Company customers remained without power late Sunday, and officials said it would not likely be fully restored until Tuesday. "We're just going to have to continue to attack it," said spokesman Rob Gould.

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