US slowly digs out after ‘Snowzilla’

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The eastern United States emerged wearily from a massive blizzard that dumped huge amounts of snow and killed at least 25 people, but Washington was still reeling, with government offices and schools to remain closed Monday.

The storm — dubbed “Snowzilla” — walloped a dozen states from Friday into early Sunday, affecting an estimated 85 million residents who were told to stay indoors and off the roads for their own safety.

The 26.8 inches (68 centimeters) of snow that fell in New York’s Central Park was the second-highest accumulation since records began in 1869, and more than 22 inches paralyzed the capital Washington.

Near-record-breaking snowfall was recorded in other cities up and down the East Coast, with Philadelphia and Baltimore also on the receiving end of some of the worst that Mother Nature could fling at them.


But as the storm ended and temperatures rose, New York emerged from total shutdown and lifted a sweeping travel ban. Roads were reopened throughout the city, on Long Island and in New Jersey.

Thousands of people flocked to parks, tobogganing, organizing snowball fights and strapping on cross-country skis, as children delighted in a winter wonderland under glorious sunshine.

Broadway resumed shows, which were canceled on Saturday, and museums reopened, as snowplows quickly cleared the main avenues and temperatures hovered at about 32 degrees Fahrenheit (zero Celsius).

But as the storm-related death toll rose, authorities advised caution despite the picture postcard scenes outside.

“We urge all New Yorkers not to travel on our roads except when necessary, and to be extremely careful when driving,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference.

AFP

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