Blizzard blankets eastern seaboard of US in deep snow
- 24 January 2016
- From the section US & Canada
A huge blizzard has blanketed the US eastern seaboard in snow, bringing New York and Washington DC to a standstill and affecting some 85 million people.
Up to 40in (102cm) of snow settled in parts, paralysing rail and air links, and cutting power to 200,000 people.
A travel ban in New York, which saw its second highest snowfall on record, is set to be lifted later on Sunday.
At least 18 deaths, from road accidents but also snow shovelling, have been blamed on the weather since Friday.
The blizzard is now lessening and heading out towards the Atlantic Ocean.
In other developments
- Washington DC's two main airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles International, are likely to remain closed on Sunday, officials said
- Some airlines are considering restarting limited service at New York-area airports
- Flood waters rose in New Jersey and elsewhere along the Atlantic coast
States of emergency were declared in New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia
Traffic jams lasting more than 12 hours were reported in Kentucky and Pennsylvania on Saturday.
The heaviest unofficial snowfalls recorded by mid-afternoon on Saturday included
- 40in (102cm) - Berkeley County, West Virginia
- 35.5in - Morgan County, West Virginia
- 34in - Washington County, Maryland
New York's Central Park received 26.8in, the second-biggest fall recorded since 1869 and just shy of the all-time high, 26.9in, recorded in February 2006.
"This is going to be one of those generational events, where your parents talk about how bad it was," said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist with WeatherBell Analytics.
Under travel restrictions in the most populous US city, transport was suspended and bridges shut.
Emergency vehicles and workers carrying out repairs are being allowed to use roads but those driving non-essential vehicles risk being arrested.
Five out of six deaths attributed to the snowstorm were of people shovelling snow in New York city or state, the New York Times reports. The sixth was recorded in Maryland.
On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, two university sports teams whose buses were marooned with some 500 other vehicles had to turn and head home.
Further south in Kentucky, a 35-mile (56km) traffic jam cleared after thousands of drivers found themselves stranded on Interstate 75 by heavy snow and a number of accidents.
The Red Cross erected shelters along the highway for those left in the traffic jam.
The US federal government closed down at noon on Friday. President Barack Obama is remaining at the White House.
Andrew Watson, who moved to Virginia for work about six months ago, told the BBC's News Channel that travel was restricted but families were enjoying the snow.
"The roads are now impassable and where we live it's pretty much a driving town so it's hard to get anywhere right now," he said.
"We've been told not to take to the roads, which is smart because the roads aren't gritted at all so they're very treacherous. I mean everyone's making light of it and having fun. The street we're living on the kids are playing out in the street now and having a great time."
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