Slammed: Deadly East Coast Snow Storm Heads North

Photo by stranded traveler Robin Hooter
Photo by stranded traveler Robin Hooter
Photo by stranded traveler Robin Hooter
Photo by stranded traveler Robin Hooter
Photo by Stranded Traveler Robin Hooter
Photo by Stranded Traveler Robin Hooter

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Much of the East Coast was digging out Sunday after a monster winter storm caused record snowfall in some areas, disrupting holiday travel and shopping and leaving at least four people dead.

         The end was in sight as of Sunday, however. Winter storm warnings for New York and Long Island expired at 11 a.m. ET. Warnings for the Boston metropolitan area and much of southeastern New England expired at noon ET, and a blizzard warning for Cape Cod will expire at 1 p.m. ET.

         By early Sunday morning, Bethesda, Maryland, had recorded a whopping 23 inches of snow; Medford, New Jersey, 24 inches. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received its second-highest snowfall ever in a single event, with 23.2 inches.

         Washington's Dulles and Reagan National airports saw snowfall of 18 inches and 16.4 inches, respectively -- the highest one-day totals ever for December. The previous record at Dulles was 10.6 inches in December 1964; Reagan National, 11.5 inches in December 1932.

         East Coast travelers were again warned to expect treacherous roads Sunday and face flight delays and cancellations.

         Dulles was accepting flights and had one runway open Sunday, said Tara Hamilton of the Washington Airports Authority. A runway opened at Reagan National just before 1 p.m., and flights began taking off.

         New York's LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark airports were all open Sunday morning, according to the Port Authority of New York. However, air traffic was light, said spokesman Steve Coleman. "The runways are good to go," he said.

         But 1,200 flights had been canceled by the airlines at the three airports, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. JFK airport canceled the most flights, with 550 grounded.

         American Airlines canceled 160 flights Sunday and has canceled another 20 set for Monday, said airline spokesman Charley Wilson. The 20 Boston and New York flights were grounded because of the backlog of flights the airline has to manage in the wake of the storm.

         Elsewhere in New York, the Long Island Railroad was running limited service, but train service was suspended on several branches.

         Two people were killed in weather-related crashes, the Virginia State Police said Sunday, and "there are two additional deaths that are likely related to the winter storm."

         Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine authorized up to 1,000 National Guardsmen to assist in the state's response to the storm.

         Through 8 a.m. ET Sunday, Virginia State Police had responded to more than 6,100 calls for service, nearly half of those for traffic crashes and disabled vehicles.

         The storm, known as a nor'easter, blanketed the mid-Atlantic region and the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor.

         However, I-95 was in good shape Sunday morning, reported CNN producer Xuan Thai, who drove to Washington from Philadelphia. She said while traffic was extremely light, snowplows were out and the roads were cleared.

         Meanwhile, people in western North Carolina were digging out from the powerful storm. About 28,000 households had no power into Sunday night, including 24,118 in Asheville's Buncombe County, said Drew Elliot, spokesman for Progress Energy. That's down from 50,000 in Buncombe on Saturday.

         Power has been restored to 39,000 households, according to Elliot, but new outages continue as trees or branches fall on power lines. While the majority of customers should have electricity by Monday, "We don't see full restoration until midweek," Elliot said.

         New York City sanitation staffers worked all night to dig out, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Sunday. The heaviest snow fell in the eastern part of the city -- 12 inches in the Rockaways, he said, as opposed to 6 inches in the Bronx.

         Officials were focusing on clearing the highways and bus routes before surface streets, he said, but it estimated most streets would be cleared by Sunday night. Authorities reported "no major snow-related incidents," Bloomberg said.

         Virginia State Police said travel was still hazardous in several areas Sunday, and "Virginians are still discouraged from traveling unless absolutely necessary." Slick road conditions, disabled vehicles and crashes were reported on Interstate 81 through the New River Valley west of Roanoke, authorities said, and U.S. 29 was also hazardous. Numerous vehicles were pulled off I-81 overnight Saturday and early Sunday.

         On Interstate 81 Saturday night, authorities moved motorists to shelters because of traffic stoppages, said Bob Spieldenner, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Those people were being taken back to their cars and put back on the road Sunday, he said. About 73,000 utility customers were without power Sunday, he said.

         In Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said the storm is "perhaps the biggest we've seen in several years."

         "We are going to throw everything we have at it to keep the District open for business on this busy pre-holiday weekend," Fenty said when he announced the snow emergency. But, he also urged residents to stay put in their homes.

         "We urge everyone if you don't have to go anywhere, wait. This snow should end early tomorrow morning with a 24-hour cleanup. We should have a lot of streets ready to go by rush hour Monday. And, hopefully, all of it done between Monday and Wednesday."

         Nine people were taken to a hospital after a bus and a city snow plow collided, a D.C. fire official said. The injuries were not considered serious.

         The storm also halted above-ground Metrorail operations in the District because of the "heavy snowfall that is covering the electrified third rail," according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

         Trains were shifted to underground travel, and the underground Metrorail stations remained open until 3 a.m., the normal closing time for a Saturday night.

         In West Virginia, Gov. Joe Manchin on Saturday declared a state of emergency and "authorized the use of the National Guard to assist with snow removal and emergency assistance and operations," Manchin said in a statement.

         In Boston, Massachusetts, Mayor Thomas Menino declared a snow emergency beginning at 10 p.m. Saturday. Forecasters were predicting up to 15 inches of snow with 30 mph winds.

         Crews were standing by with snow removal equipment and salt at the ready, and the city's emergency homeless shelters stayed open additional hours, authorities said.

         Winter weather was wreaking havoc in other countries, as well. Air traffic in Dusseldorf, Germany, was halted Sunday because of heavy snowfall. "It is not possible for planes to take off or land at the airport," officials said. About 50 flights were routed to different airports, and 50 departures were canceled.

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