Flights resume at NYC airports after snowstorm
Originally published February 9, 2013 at 1:15 p.m., updated February 9, 2013 at 1:51 p.m.
NEW YORK (AP) — New York's airports dug out from under nearly a foot of snow and allowed some flights to land Saturday morning, while Boston's Logan Airport remained closed.
The first inbound passenger flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport landed at 9:30 a.m., according to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates the region's three major airports.
Meanwhile, Amtrak said the New York-Boston train route would remain closed Saturday as crews cleared tracks of snow and fallen trees. Trains were running south from New York, and between New York and Albany.
Airports in the Northeast shut down Friday afternoon as a snowstorm of potentially historic proportions blew in. The storm brought more than 2 feet of snow in some parts of New England and left more than 650,000 homes and businesses without power.
These days, airlines try to get ahead of big storms by canceling flights in advance. They want to avoid having crews and planes stuck in one area of the country. They also face fines for leaving passengers stuck on a plane for more than three hours under a rule that went into effect in 2010.
Logan Airport said it expects to open one runway by 11 p.m. Across the region, flights were expected to be back on close to normal schedules on Sunday.
Flight-tracking website FlightAware said airlines have canceled 5,368 flights because of the storm. Airlines have waived the usual fees to change tickets for flights in the affected areas.
Hardest hit was United Airlines. It has cancelled 710 Friday, Saturday and Sunday flights, according to FlightAware.
The storm disrupted thousands of travelers.
Denny Lindersson, a tourist from Sweden, was making his way across New York City with his family on Saturday morning after spending the night at a hotel close to Kennedy Airport. Their Saturday morning flight to the Cayman Islands was cancelled. JetBlue Airways re-booked them for a Monday flight, but rather than waiting for that, the Linderssons bought new tickets on a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
"JetBlue didn't pay for anything," he grumbled, also noting that Sweden's biggest airport would not have shut down because of 11 inches of snow.
Several professional and college sports teams were stranded by the storm. The NBA's New York Knicks were stuck in Minnesota after playing the Timberwolves on Friday night. The San Antonio Spurs were staying overnight in Detroit, awaiting word on when they might be able to fly to New York for their game Sunday night with the Brooklyn Nets.
Earlier coverage, 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013:
Northeast begins digging out after snowstorm
By JAY LINDSAY, Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) — A howling storm across the Northeast left the New York-to-Boston corridor shrouded in 1 to 3 feet of snow Saturday, stranding motorists on highways overnight and piling up drifts so high that some homeowners couldn't get their doors open. More than 650,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity.
At least three deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the wind-whipped snowstorm, including that of a New York man killed when the tractor he was using to plow his driveway ran off the edge of the road.
More than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford, Conn., and an 82 mph gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire got at least 2 feet of snow, with more falling. Portland, Maine, received 29.3 inches, breaking the record set in 1979.
Roads in many places were impassable. Across much of New England, snowed-over cars looked like white blobs. Streets were mostly deserted save for snowplow crews and a few hardy souls walking dogs or venturing out to take pictures. In Boston's Financial District, the only sound was an army of snowblowers clearing sidewalks.
The digging-out went more smoothly in some places than in others.
A little more than 11 inches fell in New York, but the city "dodged a bullet" and was "in great shape," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, predicting streets would be cleared by the end of the day. The New York region's three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, N.J. — were up and running again by late morning after shutting down the evening before.
But hundreds of motorists abandoned their vehicles on New York's Long Island, which got 2½ feet of snow, and even snowplows were getting stuck. Emergency workers used snowmobiles to try to reach stranded motorists, some of whom spent the night in their cars.
Richard Ebbrecht, a chiropractor, left his office in Brooklyn at 3 p.m. on Friday and head for his home in Middle Island, N.Y., but got stuck six or seven times on the Long Island Expressway and other roads.
"There was a bunch of us Long Islanders. We were all helping each other, shoveling, pushing," he said. He finally gave up and settled in for the night in his car just two miles from his destination. At 8 a.m., when it was light out, he walked home.
"I could run my car and keep the heat on and listen to the radio a little bit," he said. "It was very icy under my car. That's why my car is still there."
Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut closed roads to all but essential traffic.
The Interstate 95 corridor from the New York metropolitan area to Boston, with a population of roughly 25 million, appeared to take the brunt of the storm. One of hardest-hit places was Connecticut, where even emergency responders found themselves stuck on highways all night. In Fairfield, police and firefighters could not come in to work, so the overnight shift stayed on.
Several state police cars were also stuck in deep snow in Maine, where stranded drivers were warned to expect long waits for tow trucks.
Nearly 22 inches of snow fell in Boston and more was expected, closing in on the 2003 record of 27.6 inches. The archdiocese in the heavily Roman Catholic city reminded parishioners that under church law, the requirement to attend Sunday Mass "does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation." Logan Airport was not expected to resume operations until late Saturday night.
Flooding fears along the Massachusetts coast led to the evacuation of two neighborhoods in Quincy, south of Boston, and of 20 to 30 people in oceanfront homes in Salisbury.
But around the New York metropolitan area, many victims of Superstorm Sandy were mercifully spared another round of flooding, property damage and power failures.
"I was very lucky and I never even lost power," said Susan Kelly of Bayville on Long Island. "We were dry as anything. My new roof was fantastic. Other than digging out, this storm was a nice storm." As for the shoveling, "I got two hours of exercise."
The Postal Service closed post offices and suspended mail delivery Saturday in New England.
"This is crazy. I mean it's just nuts," Eileen O'Brien said in blacked-out Sagamore Beach, Mass., as she cleared heavy snow from her deck for fear it might collapse.
As the pirate flag outside her door snapped and popped in gale-force winds Saturday, she said: "My thermostat keeps dropping. Right now it's 54 inside, and I don't have any wood. There's nothing I can do to keep warm except maybe start the grill and make some coffee."
In South Windsor, Conn., Bill Tsoronis used a snowblower to carve paths through huge snowdrifts in his neighborhood.
"I thought we might have 18 or 20 inches, but in some places it's up to my waist. It's more than I expected," he said. Still, he said the storm was not much more than a nuisance, since the neighborhood still had power, and he said he might gather with neighbors for cocktails later in the day.
His neighbor Mike Schroder said as he brushed snow off cars in his driveway that the storm lived up to the hype.
"This is finally one they got right," he said. He said the cleanup will take some time: "When the snow is higher than the snowblower, you're in trouble."
Associated Press writers John Christoffersen in Fairfield, Conn.; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; Bill Kole in Sagamore Beach, Mass.; Samantha Critchell, Karen Matthews and Colleen Long in New York, and Sylvia Wingfield in Boston contributed to this report.
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