Monster blizzard snarls travel in America's East Coast

Incoming and departing flights were suspended at New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, as well as Newark Liberty International Airport in neighboring north New Jersey since Sunday, Port Authority spokesperson Sara Joren said.

Airlines scrambled to rebook passengers on thousands of canceled flights but said they did not expect normal service to resume until tomorrow.

More than 2,000 flights were canceled by major airlines, 1,444 of them at Kennedy and La Guardia Airports and Newark Airport, The New York Times reported.

Spill-back cancellations affected hundreds of other flights from Chicago and Atlanta, and even from London and Paris. The misery for travelers in the US came as passengers trapped by freezing weather in Europe began returning home as flights resumed normal service on Christmas Day.

American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Sanderson said that the carrier would cancel another 171 flights today in and out of major airports from Washington through Boston.
The heavy snow falling from Virginia up the East Coast yesterday also affected travel on the roads and the rails. Massachusetts state police reported numerous crashes. Amtrak stopped train service yesterday afternoon between New York and Portland, Maine, as well as between Newport News and Richmond, Virginia, media reports said.

The weather service called it the biggest storm in the region since last February, when record snowfalls paralysed the mid-Atlantic states but largely spared New York City, and the first blizzard since February 12, 2006, when the 24-hour record for Central Park, 26.9 inches, was set.

Governors declared states of emergency in Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts ahead of the approaching storm. The mayors of Philadelphia, Boston, Providence and Portland, Maine, also called snow emergencies.

"Unfortunately, our city is directly in the path," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "It's hard to stand up in a 55-mph wind, so this really is dangerous."

Snow began falling in parts of the South on Christmas, where winter weather advisories expired Sunday evening in parts of Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

A blizzard warning, which is issued when snow is accompanied by sustained winds or gusts over 35 mph, was in effect from Delaware to the far northern tip of Maine.

The monster storm is the result of a low pressure system off the North Carolina coast and strengthened as it moved northeast, the National Weather Service said.

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