Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Canada and Russia exchange snarky tweets

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger: Top opposition figure to be questioned in baby-trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call to return home

Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

Americas

Deadly US snowstorm wreaks transport chaos

© Photo: AFP

Video by Jessica LE MASURIER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-04

Freezing temperatures, howling winds and heavy snowfall battered the US northeast on Friday, causing at least nine deaths and grounding thousands of flights.

Road transport was also heavily disrupted while schools and government offices were closed across the region as nearly two feet (60cm) of snow piled up in some of the hardest hit areas.

Meteorologists said the snow would taper off across much of the region by late morning, but dangerously cold conditions were expected to linger into Saturday.

The National Weather Service said the mass of Arctic air would drop temperatures to 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (11-17 C) below the average, reaching  -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 C) in some areas, with record lows possible on Friday.

"Over the next 24 hours we are going to see temperatures like we haven't seen in quite a while," said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

By Friday morning, about 2,200 flights were cancelled nationwide, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com. Most were in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC.

Deaths

At least nine deaths have so far been blamed on the storm, with road accidents the main cause. Icy roads have caused traffic deaths in Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, authorities said.

A massive pile of salt fell on a worker at a Philadelphia storage facility, killing him. And authorities say a woman with Alzheimer's disease froze to death after she wandered away from her rural New York state home.

Governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency, urging residents to stay at home. Hundreds of schools were shut down in Boston and New York, extending the holiday break for tens of thousands of students.

“People should seriously consider staying in their homes,'' New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Outreach teams were searching streets in New York City and Boston for homeless people at risk of freezing to death.

Some major highways in New York state were shut down overnight, and some commuter trains around New York City were operating on a reduced schedule.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered non-essential state workers to stay home Friday, and state offices and courthouses were closed. State offices were also closed in Massachusetts.

New York mayor hails ‘great response’

The heavy weather began rolling in Thursday, just a day after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was sworn in to lead the nation's largest city.

De Blasio said 1,700 snowploughs and 450 salt spreaders had been deployed to clear the city’s streets.

“I feel great about the response,'' De Blasio said Friday after shovelling the sidewalk outside his Brooklyn home. “We are vigilant. We are not out of this yet.''

However, some New Yorkers were displeased at the city’s efforts to counter the effects of the storm.

"I'm sure mayor de Blasio is doing what he can, but a lot of the streets haven't been cleared at all and I'm not too happy about that," said Anesha Jones, 26, as she walked through Brooklyn to her job as a bank teller. She added that bus and subway delays added an hour to her regular commute.

Others took the storm in stride.

"It's winter. It snowed. It happens," said Mark Kulpa as he shovelled a sidewalk outside his Brooklyn workplace.

He said the response was better than a Christmas 2010 blizzard, where then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg came under heavy criticism for the city's slow response while he was out of town on holiday.

"At least they are out ploughing and spreading salt. That's already a step up," Kulpa said. "But really, what can you say in two days and just after a big storm?"

(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-01-03

  • IN PICTURES

    Your pictures of US snowstorm

    Read more

  • USA

    Thousands of flights grounded as US battles snowstorm

    Read more

  • USA

    Winter storm hits Thanksgiving travellers in eastern US

    Read more

COMMENT(S)