October 24, 2014
New blizzard pummels East Coast
WASHINGTON--A second major snowstorm in a week swept up the U.S. East Coast on Wednesday, dumping historic snowfalls that shut down U.S. government offices and the United Nations in New York and paralyzed airports.

The Weather Channel reported early Wednesday that blizzard warnings had been issued for New York City and parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

In Washington, D.C., whiteout conditions were reported across much of the metro area, with winds gusting up to 40 mph. Driving conditions turned so treacherous that officials pulled plows off the roads.

Then there was the snowfall. The storm dumped more than 10 inches of snow on parts of the Washington area that already had been hit with about 3 feet of snow in a blizzard over the weekend. Nearby Baltimore reported record snowfall.

In New York, flakes were coming down fast during the morning commute. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights at New York-area airports, and the city school system's 1.1 million students enjoyed a snow day, only the third in six years.

Snow was falling from northern Virginia to Connecticut by early Wednesday after crawling out of the Midwest, where the storm canceled hundreds of flights and was blamed for three traffic deaths in Michigan. In Chicago, a pickup plowing snow backed into and killed a 71-year-old woman.

'Embarrassing'

In the Washington area, the storms have kept some workers and students home for the better part of a week. About 230,000 federal workers in Washington have been off since Friday afternoon, when the first storm began. The U.S. House announced it was scrapping the rest of its workweek. Several hearings and meetings in Congress and federal agencies were postponed, including one planned to address Toyota's massive recalls.

"It's embarrassing that the world's largest superpower closes from a few feet of snow," said Alex Krause, 23, of Los Angeles, who was stranded in Washington and visiting the National Mall. "The Kremlin must be laughing."

But the effects of the federal government's closure were negligible since about 85 percent of federal employees work outside the Washington region. An IRS spokeswoman said tax returns should not be affected.

Thousands remained without power from the last storm in parts of western Pennsylvania, Maryland and other areas. Utilities said deep snow was hindering some crews trying to fix damaged power lines even before Tuesday's storm arrived.

Air, road traffic shuts down

Adding to the storm's misery, most flights were canceled at Philadelphia's airport after 8 p.m. Tuesday, and Washington's airports had halted all but a few flights. Continental Airlines canceled all 400 of its Wednesday flights at Newark Liberty Airport, as well as several hundred more regional flights on affiliate airlines. U.S. Airways and Continental also canceled most flights at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

More than 600 flights were canceled Tuesday at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports. (Source: MSNBC)
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