New York Travelers Face Delays as Winds Slow Clear-Up

New York commuters and travelers face further disruptions today as winds hinder efforts to clear roads and runways following the heaviest December snows in six decades.

While the storm is moving slowly away, rising atmospheric pressure will continue to cause winds gusting to about 40 mph (64 kph) in some open areas, commercial forecaster AccuWeather Inc. said on its website. Winds may “quickly” cover roads with snow, according to a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service late yesterday.

Airports may struggle to keep runways clear, said Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather. New York’s LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty airports opened last night for outgoing traffic after snows forced shutdowns. Airlines have canceled more than 6,000 flights nationwide since airports began to close on Dec. 26.

NJ Transit, which carries about 170,000 commuters to and from New York City daily, said passengers should expect delays because of local road conditions. The agency expected to restore bus services at 12:01 a.m. and planned to operate reduced train services today aside from on the Atlantic City Rail Line, it said in a statement on its website. Amtrak will pare rail services between Boston, New York and Washington, it said.

30-inch Snowfall

More than a foot of snow fell across the northeast yesterday, with some areas in New Jersey getting more than 30 inches (76 centimeters), according to AccuWeather. Central Park had 20 inches of snow by 8 a.m. yesterday, the most for the month since 1948, the National Weather Service said.

New York City will have winds between 16 mph and 20 mph with gusts as high as 31 mph, according to a Weather Service forecast. Its winter weather advisory, covering a wider region, said gusts may hit 55 mph overnight before slowing to 40 mph by morning.

The storm reached New York the day after Christmas, one of the five busiest shopping days of the year. It may take retailers two weeks to recover from lost sales, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group Inc., a research firm based in Port Washington, New York.

New York, which faces a $2.5 billion deficit in the $65 billion budget projected for next year, will be more affected by lost economic activity than clean-up costs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a City Hall news conference on Dec. 26. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

The snowfall was the fifth-largest on record for the city, Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said on Dec. 26.

Flight Cancelations

U.S. carriers canceled at least 3,389 flights yesterday, after cutting more than 3,334 on Dec. 26, as they waited for airports to open in the Northeast, spokesmen said. Airlines in some cases grounded flights ahead of the storm to keep planes from getting stuck at closed facilities.

The storm brought snow as far south as parts of Jacksonville, Florida, AccuWeather said. The storm system began in the South over the Christmas holiday. Four inches of snow fell in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while 8 inches was reported in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Environment Canada issued a blizzard warning yesterday for northeastern New Brunswick and warned of heavy snow or rain in the rest of the Maritime provinces. The snowfall is expected to taper off into flurries today, the agency said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Clark in New York at aclark27@bloomberg.net; Stuart Biggs in Tokyo at sbiggs3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net.

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