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Snowstorm Blankets U.S. East Coast, Disrupts Travel

Snowstorm Blankets U.S. East Coast, Disrupts Travel
A traveler sleeps while stranded at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Photographer: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. East Coast faces a second day of travel disruption after snowstorms blanketed cities from New York to Boston, closing airports and halting trains with waist-high drifts and blinding winds.

New York City may have as much as 18 inches to 20 inches (51 centimeters) on the ground as of 7 a.m., as the storm’s center shifts north and east, commercial forecaster AccuWeather said. Snowfall in the city eased by daybreak.

Almost 3,000 flights were canceled in the region. John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport were due to reopen at 4 p.m. and 2 p.m. local time, respectively, the Federal Aviation Administration said on its website.

“The storm is going to trend north and east, and Boston is going to get heavy snow this morning,” Robert Richards, a meteorologist at State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather Inc., said by telephone. The blizzard left 10.4 inches of snow at JFK airport yesterday, which is the most for a single day since the late 1940s, he said.

The day after Christmas is one of the five busiest shopping days of the year, and it may take retailers two weeks to capture sales lost yesterday, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group Inc., a research firm based in Port Washington, New York.

Blizzard Warnings

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings for New York, Boston and cities along the coast to Maine. Wind gusts of as much as 60 miles (96 kilometers) per hour were expected in New York, AccuWeather said.

Amtrak resumed limited operations between New York and Boston after canceling service late yesterday. The Long Island Rail Road said it plans to operate on a holiday schedule today when it gets trains running again, according to a statement on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority website.

NJ Transit, which transports about 170,000 commuters to and from New York City daily, suspended bus service as of 8:30 p.m. yesterday, according to a statement. Rail service will run a modified holiday schedule on all routes today except the Atlantic City line, which will operate on a weekday schedule.

New York City will have 365 salt spreaders and 1,700 snowplows on the streets, and sanitation department employees will work 12-hour shifts, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday at a press conference.

Power Outages

Consolidated Edison Inc. reported there were 6,233 customers in Queens, New York, and 1,622 in Westchester County without power.

Boston and its suburbs may receive as much as 18 inches from the storm before it ends tomorrow, said Alan Dunham, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Taunton, Massachusetts. Part of central Massachusetts may receive as much as 22 inches.

National Grid Plc, which provides electricity in New York and Massachusetts, was reporting power outages at 15 sites throughout New York and Massachusetts. The largest was in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where 7,349 customers were without power.

In Philadelphia, which may get as much as 12 inches of snow, yesterday’s Eagles football game against the Minnesota Vikings was rescheduled for 8 p.m. on Dec. 28, the Eagles said on their website.

Flights Scrubbed

Delta Air Lines Inc. scrubbed about 850 flights yesterday, about a sixth of its daily total. United Continental Holdings Inc.’s Continental Airlines canceled 265 flights, mostly from its hub at Newark, while United Airlines nixed about 110 departures for airports in the northeastern U.S.

US Airways Group Inc. postponed 761 flights, Southwest Airlines Co. about 450, and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines about 262. American canceled 171 flights for today out of the northeast, according to spokeswoman Mary Sanderson.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG canceled half a dozen flights to and from New York today, Thomas Jachnow, a spokesman, said by telephone. British Airways Plc also canceled additional flights after scrubbing more than 10 flights to JFK and Newark yesterday, Cathy West, a spokeswoman, said.

“We do expect disruptions across our services to the Eastern Seaboard today,” West said by telephone.

The storm also brought snow as far south as parts of Jacksonville, Florida, AccuWeather said on its website.

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 today. Twelve inches of snow may fall in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and rain may accompany the snow in Nova Scotia.

Winds may gust to 70 mph (113 kph) in eastern Nova Scotia and 80 mph in western Newfoundland, the agency said.

Mayor Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Clark in New York at aclark27@bloomberg.net; Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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