US north-east snow storm causes travel chaos


A winter storm has caused travel chaos in the north-eastern US, bringing up to two feet (60cm) of snow to some places.

More than 4,000 flights were cancelled as the storm blanketed the US on Thursday and Friday.

New York's JFK airport closed for snow removal and all the city's public schools are shut. New York and New Jersey have states of emergency.

Wind-chill temperature was set to be as low as -25C (-13F) in New York, with many road conditions treacherous.

Forecasters warned that wind gusts of up to 30mph could cause frostbite in about 30 minutes.

“This is nothing to be trifled with,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “People should seriously consider staying in their homes.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was sworn into office on 1 January, said: “If you don't need to go out, please don't go out. Stay off the streets, stay out of your cars.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has ordered non-essential state workers to remain at home. Massachusetts and Connecticut followed suit, and in Washington DC, federal government workers were offered the option of working from home or taking leave.

Some commuter trains around New York City were on a reduced schedule, while some key roads were shut at least temporarily. City buses are running but with “system-wide delays”.

The New York Times said 6in of snow had fallen on Central Park by 07:00 and the temperature was the same as in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Boston too has been badly affected, with schools shut. The New York to Boston Amtrak service is on reduced schedule.

A salt storage worker was killed in Philadelphia when a 100-ft (30-metre) pile of road salt fell and crushed him.

A man was reported to be in critical condition after being pulled from Lake Michigan by firefighters.

The storm has stretched from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast.

Although snowfall is easing in many parts, Friday is forecast to be bitterly cold across much of the region.

Late on Thursday evening, the National Weather Service said unofficial observations had recorded 53cm of snow in Boxford, north of Boston.

More snow is expected on Friday in eastern Canada, with parts of the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland under blizzard warnings.

Parts of Newfoundland and Labrador are expected to see up to 40cm (16in) of snow on Friday, while Nova Scotia is expected to see as much as 20cm (8in).

The eastern half of the country has been plunged into bitterly cold temperatures over the past several days, making it feel as low as -35C (-31F) with wind chill in the Atlantic provinces.