Snowstorm: Travel ban lifted in New York

New York:Most travel bans were lifted and transit services gradually resumed Tuesday morning in New York area after a snowstorm whose impact was far less than expected for most of the area.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo held a morning storm briefing in which he announced the reopening of roadways and public transportation in the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island region.

The travel ban for all state and local roads was lifted, Cuomo announced. But advised drivers to be extremely cautious as driving conditions remained poor.

Many flights were cancelled at LaGuardia and JFK airports, the governor said, and suggested travellers to contact individual airlines to see if their flights were delayed or cancelled.

New York City got about 15 cm of snow by Tuesday morning, far less than the 61 cm that had been forecast.

The National Weather Service downgraded blizzard warning to winter storm warnings for the five boroughs of New York City Tuesday morning, leaving Suffolk county under a blizzard watch.

The snowstorm affected normal life in Boston, Manhattan, New England and elsewhere in the region.

“We’re hunkered down with food, shelter and water,” said Rafi Menachem, a financial consultant who lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, near Boston, adding, “I’m worried about electricity”, according to a CNN report.

Meteorologists had warned of a “crippling” and “potentially historic” blizzard in the region from Monday.

In New York, schools were closed, and city officials shut down public transit.

Snow was falling 2-4 inches an hour at times and was especially heavy along the coast.

Up to 58 million people could be affected by the deep freeze and the storm could have a far-reaching economic and political impact, even beyond the region directly hit, CNN said.

A state of emergency was put in place in seven states across the region — Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

More than 4,300 flights were cancelled for Tuesday, the CNN report said, citing the flight-tracking website Flightaware.

That’s on top of 2,800 flights cancelled Monday. Hundreds more have already been cancelled for Wednesday.

Connecticut and Massachusetts also put travel bans in place. Violating the ban could set one back by $500 in Massachusetts.

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency. Cars left parked on snow emergency routes would be towed and owners ticketed, he said.