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Northeast Plows Through After Storm

Drivers shoveled out their cars, marooned travelers waited impatiently for trains and planes to get back to full service, and utility crews struggled to restore power Monday after a record-breaking weekend snowstorm across the Northeast.

Most highways were in good shape in time for the morning commute, though many city streets and sidewalks were still snow-packed and slippery.

Hundreds of schools canceled classes from West Virginia to Massachusetts, but youngsters did not get a holiday in New York City, where subways continued running and major streets had been plowed despite a record-breaking 26.9-inch snowfall.

"I never want to see snow again," Laura Guerra, 27, of Miami, said after spending the night on a cot at New York's LaGuardia Airport. She said she had not seen snow since she was 4, "but I got it out of my system."

CBS News correspondent Mika Brzezinksi reports the massive snowfall in Manhattan eclipsed the record set in 1947, when more than 26 inches of snow paralyzed the city, killing 77 people. Sixty years later, there were no deaths and experts say weather forecasting and technology made all the difference.

The storm blanketed the East Coast from Maine to the mountains of western North Carolina, where Robbinsville get 20 inches of snow and a scenic highway remained closed Monday by 6-foot drifts. Unlike most of the Northeast, where the storm died down Sunday afternoon, light snow continued falling in western North Carolina on Monday.

Airlines worked to catch up after canceling hundreds of weekend flights at major airports from Washington to Boston, stranding travelers across the country.

All three major New York-area airports — Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark — had reopened with limited service by Monday morning.

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.

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.


Amtrak still had numerous storm-related schedule changes.

Some passengers were stranded Sunday on the Long Island Rail Road east of New York City, where trains got stuck on snow-covered tracks. One train was marooned for five hours. Limited LIRR service into Manhattan resumed on Monday morning, but one branch on Long Island still sat idle.

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

"It's very, very poor emergency planning on the part of the Long Island Rail Road to have passengers stranded for 10, 15, 17 hours," fumed Walter Garcia, 39, who spent almost 18 hours at Penn Station.

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.

Brzezinski reports the New York City's 20 snow melters are working to melt 60 tons of snow an hour, but minor flooding could be an issue when temperatures are supposed to reach 50 degrees on Thursday.

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.

The storm also knocked out power across parts of the Northeast, most severely in Maryland, where utilities said more than 48,000 homes and businesses still had no power Monday. About 16,000 customers lost power Sunday in New Jersey, but almost all of them had electricity again on Monday.

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