January 23, 2014

American Northeast freezes under another blast from the Polar Vortex: Holiday for White House

Several US States like New York declared emergency as a severe winter snow storm buried large areas of Northeast a second time in a fortnight bringing normal life to a standstill.
Washington: In a second coming after a fortnight, the fearsome winter snow storm battered the Northeast and Midwest America once more. Washington DC is buried under a foot of snow and the White House was shut for a day on Tuesday. A state of emergency has been declared in New York and several other States. The Office of Personnel Management declared Federal offices closed. Three people died. Schools, offices and businesses had to be shut in many places. No travel, by air, rail, road or even on foot! In snow and the bone-chilling gusts and blizzards, venturing out has become hazardous.

Over 3000 flights are cancelled a day in airports in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, according to flight-tracking system flightaware.com. The worst affected airports were Philadelphia International and New York’s LaGuardia.

The inaugural party for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Ellis Island in New York Harbor was canceled. New Jersey, where snow fall is up to 16 inches, has declared a state of emergency and asked the people to stay indoors lest it turns fatal. So also Delaware. The snow was 14 inches in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania on Thursday. As the chilly winds lashed Maryland, adjoining Washington DC, at a speed of 80 km, trains and bus services were cancelled and the government declared a shutdown. Schools and other institutions were closed in neighbouring Virginia, and Connecticut beyond New York.

Weather forecasts by AccuWeather said temperatures will be dropping below freezing point up to down south in northern Florida. Up, Minnesota recorded minus 18 deg C and Chicago minus 28 deg C. The National Weather Service warned travellers and office-goers against traffic disruptions on highways in the east, especially from Washington to Boston.

The Supreme Court functioned, but the White House was partially shut, as also all schools in the district closed. Federal staff were working from home. The plows and scattering of salt could not keep pace with the snow fall. The Metro entry was blocked.

In last fortnight's polar blast, more than 20 states were buried under snow and around 120 million people were affected. Thirteen deaths were also reported. New York, New Jersey and Boston had declared a state of emergency and the schools had to be shut in New York to keep over a million kids stay indoors.

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