After Blizzard, Snowed-In East Coast Prepares to Dig Out
After Blizzard, Snowed-In East Coast Prepares to Dig Out

NEW YORK—Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill.

The travel ban that barred nonemergency vehicles from the roads of New York City was lifted at 7 a.m. Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In Baltimore, a travel ban was lifted, but some restrictions remain in place.

Meanwhile, mass transit systems that had been partially suspended during the storm were to be restored gradually.

But even as United Airlines said limited service might begin later in the afternoon in New York City, airports in the Washington D.C. area were likely to remain closed Sunday, and other airlines started to cut Monday service in addition to the 7,000 already-canceled weekend flights.

The massive snowstorm brought both the nation’s capital and its largest city to a stop, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow and stranding tens of thousands of travelers. At least 18 deaths were blamed on the weather, resulting from car crashes, shoveling snow and hypothermia.

The snow dropped 26.8 inches in Central Park, the second-most recorded since 1869. The snowfall narrowly missed tying the previous record of 26.9 inches set in February 2006. The snow finally stopped falling in New York City around 10 p.m. Saturday night, though authorities insisted people stay indoors and off the streets as crews plowed deserted roads and police set up checkpoints to catch violators.

The storm dropped snow from the Gulf Coast to New England, with areas of Washington surpassing 30 inches. The heaviest unofficial report was in a rural area of West Virginia, not far from Harpers Ferry, with 40 inches.

“This is kind of a Top 10 snowstorm,” said weather service winter storm expert Paul Kocin, who co-wrote a two-volume textbook on blizzards.

The usually bustling New York City looked more like a ghost town. With Broadway shows dark, thin crowds shuffled through a different kind of Great White Way, the nickname for a section of the theater district. And Bruce Springsteen canceled Sunday’s scheduled show at Madison Square Garden.

In Washington, monuments that would typically be busy with tourists stood vacant. All mass transit in the capital was to be shut down through Sunday.

Seventeen-year-old Alex Cruz, helping a neighbor shovel snow Saturday in Silver Spring, Maryland, couldn’t help but notice the emptiness.

“It’s like living out in the middle of Wyoming,” he said.

Throughout the region, drivers skidded off snowy, icy roads in accidents that killed several people Friday and Saturday. Those killed included a 4-year-old boy in North Carolina; a Kentucky transportation worker who was plowing highways; and a woman whose car plunged down a 300-foot embankment in Tennessee. Three people died while shoveling snow in Queens and Staten Island.

Despite adverse weather conditions, people visit New York's Central Park as a large winter storm enveloped the East Coast on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Despite adverse weather conditions, people visit New York’s Central Park as a large winter storm enveloped the East Coast on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

An Ohio teenager sledding behind an all-terrain vehicle was hit by a truck and killed, and two people died of hypothermia in southwest Virginia. In North Carolina, a man whose car had veered off an icy-covered road was arrested on charges of killing a motorist who stopped to help.

In Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, drivers were marooned for hours in snow-choked highways.

Roofs collapsed on a historic theater in Virginia and a horse barn in Maryland, while seaside towns in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland grappled with flooding.

The snow was whipped into a maelstrom by winds that reached 75 mph at Dewey Beach, Delaware, and Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, the weather service said. From Virginia to New York, sustained winds topped 30 mph and gusted to around 50 mph. And if that weren’t enough, the storm also had bursts of thunder and lightning.

Stranded travelers included Defense Secretary Ash Carter, whose high-tech aircraft, the Doomsday Plane, couldn’t land at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland after returning from Europe. Carter was rerouted to Tampa, Florida.

Harrisonburg residents unable to dig their cars out of their driveways and neighborhoods take to walking to their destinations as snow continues to fall in Harrisonburg, Va., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)

Harrisonburg residents unable to dig their cars out of their driveways and neighborhoods take to walking to their destinations as snow continues to fall in Harrisonburg, Va., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)


A jogger runs on a snow-covered street in downtown Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

A jogger runs on a snow-covered street in downtown Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)


A couple holds hands as they walk on snow-covered streets in downtown Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

A couple holds hands as they walk on snow-covered streets in downtown Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)


A group of friends help push a car into a safe parking spot after it was stuck on a snow-covered road in Huntington, W.Va., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)

A group of friends help push a car into a safe parking spot after it was stuck on a snow-covered road in Huntington, W.Va., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP)


Harrison Feind of Boulder, Colo., takes a selfie with a snowman in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Harrison Feind of Boulder, Colo., takes a selfie with a snowman in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)


Cross country skiers exercise through Central Park in New York City on Jan. 23, 2016. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Cross country skiers exercise through Central Park in New York City on Jan. 23, 2016. (Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)


A group of friends run on Pensylvania avenue during the snow storm in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

A group of friends run on Pensylvania avenue during the snow storm in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)


A group of kids from Wisconsin play in the snow in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

A group of kids from Wisconsin play in the snow in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)


People use a wall surrounding the Washington Monument to walk above the snow after a snowstorm in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

People use a wall surrounding the Washington Monument to walk above the snow after a snowstorm in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)


A bike is buried near Bryant Park as all cars but emergency vehicles are banned from driving on the road in New York City on Jan. 23, 2016. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

A bike is buried near Bryant Park as all cars but emergency vehicles are banned from driving on the road in New York City on Jan. 23, 2016. (Yana Paskova/Getty Images)


A snowplow clears snow on Lexington Avenue during the snowstorm January 2016 in New York. (Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images)

A snowplow clears snow on Lexington Avenue during the snowstorm January 2016 in New York. (Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images)


People walk through a snow filled Times Square in New York on Jan. 23, 2016. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

People walk through a snow filled Times Square in New York on Jan. 23, 2016. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)


Local residents Amber Neightengale (L) and Marisa Pace (R) sled down the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on a kayak, in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Local residents Amber Neightengale (L) and Marisa Pace (R) sled down the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on a kayak, in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)


An Amish man drives his buggy through heavy snow and wind in Mechanicsville, Md., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

An Amish man drives his buggy through heavy snow and wind in Mechanicsville, Md., on Jan. 23, 2016. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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