East Coast storm strands trav­el­ers, vexes driv­ers

The Pak Banker - - 6i Nternational -

PROV­I­DENCE: A treach­er­ous com­mute of lash­ing winds, slick streets and low vis­i­bil­ity buf­fet­ted work­ers re­turn­ing Mon­day to their postChrist­mas rou­tines as a win­ter storm that dumped about a foot of snow on south­ern New Eng­land con­tin­ued crawl­ing up the East Coast, strand­ing thou­sands of air­line, bus and rail pas­sen­gers.

The bliz­zard con­di­tions wreaked havoc on trav­el­ers from the Caroli­nas to Maine, forced the sus­pen­sion of op­er­a­tions at some of the nation's busiest air­ports and ma­rooned a pas­sen­ger bus car­ry­ing about 50 peo­ple, some with di­a­betes, on a New Jersey high­way.

Air­lines scram­bled to re­book pas­sen­gers on thou­sands of can­celed flights - more than 1,400 out of the New York City area's three ma­jor air­ports alone - but said they didn't ex­pect nor­mal ser­vice to re­sume un­til Tues­day. Am­trak can­celed train ser­vice from New York to Maine af­ter do­ing the same ear­lier for sev­eral trains in Vir­ginia. The nation's largest com­muter rail sys­tem, New York's Long Is­land Rail Road, also sus­pended ser­vice. Bus com­pa­nies can­celed routes up and down the East Coast, and driv­ers faced haz­ardous travel con­di­tions - some­times with close to zero vis­i­bil­ity.

In Mon­mouth County, N.J., snow drifts of up to five feet con­trib­uted to stalling a pas­sen­ger bus on the Gar­den State Park­way, where snow plows were hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time clean­ing be­cause there were so many stranded cars clut­ter­ing the ramps, state po­lice spokesman Steve Jones said. Am­bu­lances couldn't reach the bus, and state troop­ers were car­ry­ing their own wa­ter and food to the bus to give to peo­ple who were feel­ing ill, he said.

The state po­lice's su­per­in­ten­dent, Col. Rick Fuentes, toured parts of the state in a four-wheel-drive ve­hi­cle to as­sess the con­di­tions of the road­ways and pleaded with peo­ple to stay home.

Emer­gency room nurse Tif­fany Lema, at New­port Hos­pi­tal in Rhode Is­land, said her nor­mally 45-minute com­mute from Cranston, just south of Prov­i­dence, was an aw­ful two hours, made all the more har­row­ing when her hus­band's truck couldn't get up and over the New­port Bridge. They made a U-turn and parked near an E-ZPass elec­tronic toll pay­ment of­fice, where her fa­therin-law picked her up and drove her the rest of the way.

"I wasn't go­ing to jump out at any point, so we just turned it around. It was kind of scary," said Lema, who planned to spend the night at the hos­pi­tal with other nurses. "You could see the car in front of you but not over the hill, not over the bridge." A bliz­zard warn­ing, which is is­sued when snow is ac­com­pa­nied by sus­tained winds or gusts over 35 mph, was in ef­fect early Mon­day from Delaware to the far north­ern tip of Maine. The storm was ex­pected to bring its heav­i­est snow­fall in the pre-dawn hours Mon­day, some­times dump­ing 2 to 4 inches an hour. A to­tal of 12 to 16 inches was ex­pected across nearly all of Rhode Is­land, Con­necti­cut and east­ern Mas­sachusetts, though fore­cast­ers said winds of 50 mph could cre­ate much deeper snow drifts.

States of emer­gency were de­clared in North Carolina, Vir­ginia, Mary­land, New Jersey, Maine and Mas­sachusetts, where Gov. De­val Pa­trick urged peo­ple who did not have to be on the roads to stay home, to en­sure their safety and that of work crews. Nonessen­tial state work­ers were told to stay home Mon­day.

State po­lice in Rhode Is­land re­sponded to sev­eral snow-re­lated car ac­ci­dents, in­clud­ing at least two rollovers, but no se­ri­ous in­juries were re­ported. -Ap

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.