Snowstorm slams Northeast, creates travel headaches
(CNN) — A winter storm swept through much of the Northeast Monday, creating slick roads, snarling air travel and stranding thousands of fans trying to head home after the Super Bowl.
Slushy, wet snow is falling in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Some areas could get 10 inches of snow or more.
“The Northeast faces a triple threat this week, ” said Dave Hennen, CNN’s senior meteorologist. “Monday’s storm is just a preview of things to come. Expect another round of winter weather Tuesday, and perhaps a bigger storm over the weekend into early next week.”
The storm had dumped six inches of snow in New York City by midday Monday, Hennen said. With temperatures dipping below freezing Monday night, that could lead to an icy glaze on city streets and sidewalks, he said.
The situation is so bad in New Jersey that Gov. Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency.
“Today’s winter storm is expected to produce heavy snow and travel hazards throughout the state, affecting tonight’s evening commute,” the governor said in a statement.
He urged people to remain off the roads so that first responders and public safety officials could respond to any emergency situations.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also urged people to stay off the streets.
“Things are going to be messy today,” de Blasio said. “Snow is coming down faster than we can plow it … we have a very aggressive plowing operation going on, but the snow is coming down very rapidly.”
He said the Big Apple is buckling down and preparing aggressively for the three storms expected this week.
There has been one weather-related death in New York.
An elderly man was hit by a backhoe pushing snow in front of his Brooklyn home Monday, New York police officials said. The 73-year-old victim was rushed to hospital where he later died, police said.
A winter warning is also in effect for Philadelphia, according to the National Weather Service. Boston is under a winter storm watch Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon.
Brutal weather impacts air travel
The wintry weather grounded air travel just a day after the Super Bowl brought people from across the country to the Northeast.
By 5 p.m. ET Monday, more than 1,900 flights had been canceled within, into or out of the United States, according to FlightAware.com, an online site that tracks flight data. More than 6,000 flights were delayed.
The majority of those cancellations have come from LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International, and Philadelphia International airports.
“Monday morning is one of the busiest times for air travel — business travelers pack flights as they start the week,” Daniel Baker, FlightAware’s chief executive officer, wrote via e-mail.
“With tens of thousands of Super Bowl fans planning to return home on Monday, there’s not a lot of available seats to accommodate everyone who was displaced in the wave of canceled flights this morning.”
Newark, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports are preparing cots and pillows for travelers who may need them overnight, according to Cheryl Albiez, spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all three airports.
Francois Emond, of Alma, Quebec, arrived at Newark airport at 6 a.m. Monday to find his flight home had been canceled. Wearing a Seahawks championship hat and an ear-to-ear smile, he told CNN affiliate WABC that he didn’t care about the cancellation or the weather in light of Seattle’s victory.
“The night will be very short,” Emond said. “When you win a Super Bowl for the first time, the night is very, very short.”
He planned to spend an extra night at his hotel in New York.
Hotel operators in the city said they are bracing for a lot of last-minute bookings as guests come back from airports. Many hotels report that guests are extending their stays.
This is the second wintry blast this year for the Northeast. Last month, extreme cold, strong winds and snow pummeled communities from New York to Massachusetts to Maine.
And it’s not just the Northeast bracing for winter weather.
In the Midwest, an ice storm and significant snow are expected to hit cities such as Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit between Monday and Wednesday.
“The month of January was the third-snowiest for Chicago,” said CNN meteorologist Hennen, adding the area was deluged with 33.7 inches of snow. “If you go back the last 50 days, it’s literally snowed every other day in Chicago.”
The weather is living up to Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions. The famed groundhog in Pennsylvania saw his shadow Sunday, on Groundhog Day. If you believe him, that means six more weeks of wintry weather.