Bitter cold temps hang on as Northeast digs out from snow
By Victoria Cavaliere and Barbara Goldberg
Residents of the northeastern United States on Wednesday dug out from a deadly winter storm that dumped more than 15 inches of snow in some places, with frigid temperatures forcing school closings and extensive flight delays and cancellations.
At least two deaths were blamed on the weather, which made roads treacherous. Near Emmitsburg, Md., a driver lost control and slammed into a tractor-trailer, state police reported. In Versailles, Ky., a woman’s car hit a tree after skidding on an icy highway, local police said.
“It’s brutal out here,” said Ian Chapin, 28, an appliance repairman braving stiff winds as he pumped fuel into his work vehicle at a gas station outside Philadelphia.
The deep chill and heavy snow on Wednesday closed schools in Philadelphia and many suburbs throughout New Jersey, Rhode Island and other states.
New York City pushed toward normalcy, opening its schools, but the snowstorm that dropped 11 inches of powder in Central Park touched off some complaints about unequal treatment by new Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In the toniest part of the city, Manhattan’s Upper East Side, some residents claimed that their unplowed streets were being ignored as part of the mayor’s oft-repeated campaign theme to address issues of inequality.
De Blasio conceded in a statement that, after visiting the neighborhood and talking to residents, “more could have been done to serve the Upper East Side.”
He said he ordered city sanitation workers to “double-down” on cleanup efforts.
“Our crews will remain on the streets around the clock until the roadways are clear in every neighborhood, in every borough, across New York City,” he said.
Storms have famously complicated the lives of New York mayors. In 1969, a huge storm created a political crisis for Mayor John Lindsay, who was faulted for the city’s slow response. In 2010, Mayor Michael Bloomberg came under fire for his handling of a blizzard that halted some subway service for days.
But the snow blanketing the city’s icy Times Square failed to deter tourists such as Pablo Magnelli of Buenos Aires.
“We are freezing. But, still, it’s a very nice city,” Magnelli said. “It was a dream to come here, so we will go out today to the sights — Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge. We want to see the city.”
The single-digit temperatures gripping huge swaths of the nation will prove relentless, according to Accuweather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.