Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

New Yorkers enjoy winter fun as heaps of snow paralyze US North

An unusually powerful storm buried sections of the Northeast under more than two feet of snow on Sunday. Strong winds and snowfalls grounded hundreds of flights and marooning air travelers at airports in Florida and around the nation.

In New York City's Central Park, the National Weather Service said 26.9 inches of snow had fallen. The storm set a new record since 1869; the old record was 26.4 inches in December 1947.

Click here to see photographs of NYC paralyzed with heavy snowfall

The timing of the storm helped transportation workers who plowed streets in relatively light weekend traffic and expected to have roadways ready for Monday's rush hour.

All three of the major New York-area airports were closed for much of the day, and airlines canceled more than 500 inbound and departing flights 200 each at LaGuardia and Newark airports and 120 at Kennedy. By Sunday evening, Newark and John F. Kennedy International Airport reopened with limited service.

The National Weather Service reported that 26.9 inches of snow had fallen in New York's Central Park by 4 p.m. EST Sunday, marking a new record for a single storm since records have been kept. The previous record of 26.4 inches was set on Dec. 27, 1947 .

There were few fatalities by late Sunday as people heeded storm warnings and stayed inside. Authorities said one man died when his truck slid off a Virginia highway and another was killed in a fire in Baltimore when snow hampered rescue teams.

"The snow is beautiful," said Gary Aichholz, manager of Magic Mountain, a ski resort in Londonderry, Vermont, which like other ski mountains across New England had suffered from unseasonably warm weather and scarce snowfall in January. "I think this will get people back in the spirit of winter and skiing," he said.

Some 40,000 homes were without power in Washington and parts of Maryland and another 85,000 lost power in the Baltimore area, according to utility groups. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island reported few outages.

New York City 's snow-deprived residents descended on the city's parks by the thousands, making good use of sleds, snowboards, improvised saucers and even snowshoes. Major roads and highways were mostly open and passable but still covered with snow. "The driving conditions are very difficult out there. There are a lot of spin-outs, minor crashes," said Tom Ryan of the Massachusetts State Police.

Photo AP

Source: agencies