New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as 'one of the largest snowstorms in history' fails to show

Residents were warned blizzard could dump as much as 30 inches of snow with winds reaching up to 55mph in New York City 

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The Independent US

Residents in New York City and other areas urged to bunk up inside their homes and avoid going outside have been left scratching their heads after a potentially "life-threatening" blizzard failed to make an appearance.

Forecasters originally said Winter Storm Juno could bring up to 3ft (1m) of snow and punishing hurricane-force winds. But early today, they downgraded most of those numbers, saying New England would fare the worst, but even then not as bad as expected.

Employees and students were housebound, 6,500 flights at airports along the East Coast have been cancelled and New York banned cars from roads and halted subway trains.

A state of emergency was declared by governors in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as the snow blast threatened to affect up to 60 million people in nearly a dozen states.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the city it was facing "one of the largest snowstorms in the history of this city".

The National Weather Service had warned of "life-threatening blizzard" conditions and "crippling snowfall amounts" of up to 30 inches (76 cm) of snow on parts of the region. It said wind gusts could reach up to 55 mph (80 kph) around New York City.

The heaviest snowfall was recorded in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, while New York City's Central Park saw just six inches (15 cm).

"When you hear the word "crippling" and you look out your window this morning, it is not there," said John Davitt, a meterologist on New York's NY1 news channel.

Shops were in short supply of shovels, snowblowers, food supplies and other basics as residents prepared for a few days indoors.

"Please stay home," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had told residents earlier, ordering all but the most essential government workers to stay at home from Monday afternoon until Wednesday at the earliest.

New-york-snow-GET.jpgNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned travel from 11pm (4am GMT) for all but emergency vehicles on roads in 13 counties, including the 6,000 miles' worth in New York City, suburban Westchester and Long Island.

He cautioned residents against contravening the driving ban, telling them: "If you are in your car and you are on any road, town, village, city, it doesn't matter, after 11 o'clock, you will technically be committing a crime.

"It could be a matter of life and death so caution is required."

He said anyone who violated the ban would be handed a $300 (£198) fine.


Many Easterners stuck indoors turned to social media to give voice to their frustration, adopting storm-related hashtags as #blizzardof2015, #Snowmageddon2015 and #Snowpocalypse.

Stock exchanges including Intercontinental Exchange Inc's New York Stock Exchange unit, Nasdaq OMX Group, and BATS Global Markets said they expected their exchanges to stay open for normal operating hours on Tuesday.

The last time severe weather led to the closing of the stock markets was in October 2012 when Superstorm Sandy hit the East with flooding, punishing winds and widespread power outages.

The latest storm posed a fresh challenge to De Blasio, under fire from police who criticized his support of public protests about white police violence against black men. De Blasio was heavily criticised for keeping schools open in the last major storm.

A group take a more light-hearted approach to the blizzard on a deserted street in New York's Times Square

Vacationers and business travelers faced headaches as airlines cancelled around 3,000 US flights, with Boston and New York airports most heavily affected, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

New York authorities said "virtually all" flights at LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday would be cancelled and cancellations at John F Kennedy International Airport would be "significant."

Amtrak suspended rail service on Tuesday between New York and Boston, and into New York state, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.

The biggest snowfall on record in New York City came during the storm of February 2006, dropping 26.9 inches (68 cm), according to the city's Office of Emergency Management.

Additional reporting by Reuters