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Heavy snow disrupts life in New York

NEW YORK: A blizzard pummeled the northeastern United States on day, dumping up to 29 inches of snow, disrupting air and rail travel and challenging motorists with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.
New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm, which blew up the Atlantic Coast on Sunday night and continued up to the Monday morning commute, unleashing powerful winds and grounding cities to a halt. Trade on the New York Stock Exchange was expected to take place as normal, and the US Treasury Department said auctions of three- and six-month bills and of two-year notes would proceed as scheduled on Monday. “Everything is business as usual,” an NYSE spokeswoman said, and the market opened promptly at 9:30 am. But trading on all the financial markets was thinned by the storm, which also kept shoppers away from the malls on the day after Christmas, the final act of the holiday shopping season.
“Volume usually picks up a bit after a long weekend but that is not going to be the case today with the snow storm… nobody can get into their offices in the Northeast and basically there is really lack of anything going on Wall Street,” said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Six states declared a state of emergency as the first widespread blizzard of the season hit Americans returning to work after one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

New York City was covered in snow — knee deep in many areas with giant piles on the sidewalks where snow plows cleared the streets. Some motorists who were able to dig their cars out from the snow were left spinning their wheels on unplowed streets.
Skies started clearing just before the morning commute, providing ideal play conditions and an extra treat for children after school was canceled. But there was no fun for thousands of people stranded in the airports. At Philadelphia International Airport, some 1,200 stuck passengers were given pillows, blankets, water, juice and diapers from the airport’s assistance program, a spokeswoman said. New York subway traffic was sporadic and the Metro-North commuter rail connecting the city to its northern suburbs was suspended. One New York subway train was stuck on a frozen track for seven hours before being rescued. Amtrak passenger rail service between New York and Boston was suspended on Sunday night but resumed with a limited schedule on Monday morning. Snow drifts dropped 3 to 5 feet on north-facing structures thanks to winds of up to 49 mph, NY1 said.
Major airlines including Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Continental Airlines and United Airlines all canceled large numbers of flights. One caller seeking to reschedule a flight on US Airways was told by an automated phone message: “Your wait time is now 170 minutes.” The blizzard had been predicted, allowing cities time to crank out the salt and snow plows and shoppers to stock up on basic necessities.
In a sign of the severity of the storm, an NFL football game scheduled on Sunday night in Philadelphia was postponed, forcing the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings to reschedule the contest for Tuesday. The move sparked criticism, especially as the sport loves to glorify games in snow. “It’s an absolute joke,” Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a big Eagles fan, told Fox News. “I was looking forward to this. It would have been a real experience. This is what football is all about.” -Reuters


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