Dangerous cold sets in as heavy snow blankets U.S. Northeast

Jan 04 2014, 17:54 IST
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SummaryBoston was hard hit by the first major winter storm of 2014, getting nearly 18 inches (45 cm) of snow.

People across the northeastern United States on Friday dug out after a heavy snowfall that grounded thousands of flights, closed schools and government offices, caused several deaths and left the region in the grip of bitter cold.

Boston was hard hit by the first major winter storm of 2014, getting nearly 18 inches (45 cm) of snow, while some towns north of New England's largest city saw close to 2 feet (60 cm) of accumulation.

Major cities from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Maine, were slammed, with New York's Manhattan Island getting 6 inches (15 cm) of snow and parts of Queens seeing more than 10 inches (26 cm) of fresh powder.

While plows made easy work of the powdery snow to clear roads and runways, authorities warned residents to expect unusually cold weather across the Midwest and Northeast.

Embarrass, Minnesota, notched a reading of minus 36 Fahrenheit (minus 38 Celsius) that stood as the lowest temperature recorded in the United States outside Alaska on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

"Temperatures tonight and tomorrow are expected to be extremely low, and dangerously so," Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said. "These are dangerous conditions."

The forecast overnight low for Boston was minus 4F (minus 20C) while New York looked for a low of 3F (minus 16C).

New York City's Department of Homeless Services went to "code blue," doubling the number of vans patrolling streets to seek people who needed shelter and streamlining the check-in process for homeless shelters.

SEVERAL DEATHS REPORTED

Washington received more than 2 inches (5 cm) of snow, Philadelphia roughly 5 inches (13 cm) and Hartford 7 inches (18 cm).

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, Tom Klein took a break from shoveling and said that a life in New England had accustomed him to harsh winter weather.

"I love a good snowstorm," the 60-year-old co-owner of a small manufacturing company said. "I don't mind shoveling. I've never minded shoveling."

Some 3,467 flights were canceled on Friday across the United States and 12,394 were delayed with Philadelphia and Newark airports hardest hit, according to FlightAware.com.

Airports across the region warned travelers to expect residual delays as they cleared a backlog of flights.

"We now have all our airfields - runways and taxiways - clear," said Ed Freni, aviation director for Boston's Logan International Airport. "We will be back to normal operations by tomorrow."

The weather was a factor in several deaths.

Police recovered the body of a 71-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease who

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