Historic Blizzard Clamps Down on Northeastern U.S., Causing Delays and Shutdowns

( [email protected] ) Jan 27, 2015 10:07 AM EST
NYC Snow Storm Blizzard 2015
A man stands in falling snow on West 42nd street in Times Square in New York, January 26, 2015. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a blizzard warning for New York City and surrounding areas on Monday, and warned of two days of winter storms across the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Maine. REUTERS/Mike Segar

In what was termed a "historic blizzard," a massive snowstorm pummeled the northeastern United States on Monday night, making life highly inconvenient for Americans living in that part of the country.

According to Jennifer Levitz and Jon Kamp of the Wall Street Journal, blizzard warnings were issued from New Jersey to Maine. Weather forecasters predicted epic amounts of snowfall across the region, causing officials in at least seven states to declare states of emergency, including New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

"This is a top-five historic storm. We should treat it as such," said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who called up 500 National Guardsmen for the response in his state according to the Wall Street Journal.

For those scheduled to fly, Erin McClam of NBC News reported that more than 7,000 flights were cancelled, with major airliners basically declaring that no flights would take off or land at airports in New York, Boston and Philadelphia as the blizzard made its rounds. Many airline passengers were forced to spend the night in airport terminals, given that the roads were closed to traffic for health and safety purposes.

"I can't even get back to Brooklyn," 29-year-old photographer Felix Kunze said. "I have friends who will come get me but they can't because the roads are closed."

Snow Blizzard 2015
George Mello, a respiratory therapist at St. Lukes Hospital in New Bedford, Mass., is forced to walk to work under blizzard conditions, early Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, in New Bedford, Mass. The storm spun up the East Coast early Tuesday, pounding parts of coastal New Jersey northward through Maine with high winds and heavy snow. (AP Photo/Standard Times, Peter Pereira)

Major parts of American society in that region also came to a halt.

"Store shelves emptied, schools shut their doors, and authorities either pleaded with people to stay home or outright closed the roads to all but emergency vehicles," McClam wrote.

The Wall Street Journal reported that people went into queues at grocery and hardware stores to stock up on supplies.

"It's madness," 23-year-old Paul Conte, who manages a Brooklyn supermarket, said. "People hear 'snow' and they hit the milk, bread, other stuff they need...they're also buying some beers to stay warm, and I don't blame them."

Ian Begley and Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reported that sports venues in the region also delayed game times. Instead of playing NBA games on Monday, The New York Knicks rescheduled their game against the Sacramento Kings on March 3, and the Brooklyn Nets will meet the Portland Trail Blazers on April 6 instead.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held a news conference warning the city's residents about the severity of the storm. According to ESPN, he ordered all transportation except the emergency vehicles to get off the road by 11 p.m. Monday and cancelled all school sessions on Tuesday.

"I think it is necessary given that we are talking about one of the potentially, really very biggest snowstorms in the history of the city that we have to take every conceivable measure to protect people," de Blasio said in justifying his decision to shut down the streets after 11 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reinforced that decision. The Wall Street Journal reported that he imposed a travel ban across all streets in the state of New York after 11 p.m. Monday.

Blizzard 2015 - Buffalo, New York
Snow blankets Buffalo, New York. (Photo : Getty Images)

For those traveling by train, they were out of luck too. NBC News reported that Amtrak suspended Tuesday service on many of its busiest lines, including the one running between New York City and Boston.

Despite the hazardous conditions, all storms eventually come to an end, as the New York governor reminded residents.

"It is already very, very difficult out there," Cuomo said. "The good news is that the sun will come out again. We just don't know when."

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