Reporting Paul Murnane
NEW YORK (AP / CBS New York) – A powerful East Coast blizzard marooned thousands of would-be air, rail and road travelers Monday, shutting down major airports and rail lines for a second day, stranding buses on buried highways, and forcing New York City subway riders to spend a cold night in unheated trains.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the Tri-State Area until midnight.
It was a rough day for riders depending on the LIRR. The snow brought service to a standstill. CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported that crews battled the gusty winds with shovels and plows trying to clear the platforms.
As of Monday evening, the LIRR had still suspended all lines, with the exception of the Port Washington line, which was running limited eastbound service.
Residents also left reeling in New Jersey, where a state of emergency was declared late Sunday.
Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy said the storm “landed on us harder than people anticipated.” The city was hit with over 20 inches of snow and was faced with a difficult cleanup.
“Most of our main streets have been decently cleared…but many of our side streets are still very much problematic,” Healy told WCBS 880.
Jersey City officials also warned owners that abandoned cars and double-parked vehicles made the jobs of cleaning crews much more difficult. The city warned those cars would be towed.
CBS 2’s Lou Young reported that in New Rochelle, some plows had to be rescued overnight, but that daybreak saw the turn of the tide.
“Everything’s a lot easier now. The visibility is much better. We got guys working around the clock,” plow driver Van Ingram said.
WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus
WCBS 880′s KellyWaldron in North Brunswick, NJ
WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell on the cleanup in Manhattan
WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane on airlines trying to catch up
WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell in Greenwich Village
WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane in Westchester County
Matt Scalora, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the blizzard would be remembered for gusting winds greater than 60 mph. “It doesn’t happen too often,” he said.
Not even New York City’s subway system — usually a reliable workhorse during a snow storm — could withstand the blizzard. Some subway passengers were stranded for hours on trains that broke down overnight in Queens and finally pulled into a station by midday Monday.
“Let us clean up the rest of the system, get the trains moving, if you do not have to use mass transit today, if you don’t have to go anywhere — don’t,” NYC Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said.
The progress was slow and steady in Queens. With each dig of a shovel, Elmhurst started to emerge from an ice age. Resident Janet Mauro and her neighbors demonstrated the value of teamwork.
“Everybody’s doing something…everybody is helping. It is the only way to get through this,” Janet Mauro told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
There was relief ahead for some travelers stranded at the area’s three major airports. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says flights are expected to begin arriving at Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports Monday evening.
Buses were knocked out as well, cabs were little more than a myth and those who tried walking out of the station were assailed with a hard, frigid wind that made snowflakes sting like needles.
“They tried, but they can’t do much with this snow. It’s just not stopping,” said Sharray Jones, 20, headed home to Long Island after visiting friends.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)