Travel chaos continues in snow hit United States

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Stranded passengers turned terminals into open-air hotels as they waited for planes to take off and land on plowed runways after a massive blizzard sucker-punched the northeastern US during one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Air travel in the nation's busiest, most crowded airspace nearly shut down completely after the storm socked the Northeast with more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow on a holiday weekend when Americans all seemed to be traveling or just unprepared.



A tractor-trailer skidded off a road and smashed into a house in Maine. A woman went into labor on a New Jersey highway, causing a traffic jam that stranded 30 vehicles. Rails on the normally reliable New York subway shorted out. Winds topping 65 mph (105 kph) ripped power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark across New England.



The backlog of canceled flights could take days to untangle. Two of New York's major airports — LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International — began to receive inbound flights on Monday night, while Newark began receiving inbound flights this morning. Nearly 1,500 total flights were canceled at all three airports.



"Everyone was clapping toward the end," said Patrick Wacker, 37, aboard an Air Canada flight from Toronto that was the first to land at LaGuardia at about 7:40 p.m. local time Monday. Wacker had been stranded in Toronto for a day while trying to get back to New York after visiting his parents in Frankfurt, Germany.



In New York, outer-borough residents complained of a sluggish response by snow plow crews who still hadn't finished clearing the streets. State Sen. Carl Kruger, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, called the city's response a "colossal failure." Fire officials said the unplowed streets and abandoned cars made it harder to respond to emergencies, including a five-alarm, wind-whipped blaze at a Queens apartment building Monday night.



A testy Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city's cleanup effort, saying the crews were being slowed down by abandoned cars on the streets.



"There's no reason for everybody to panic," he said. "Our city is doing exactly what you'd want it to do."



After spending Sunday night tossing and turning on airport floors, thousands of bleary-eyed travelers spent Monday standing in lines, begging for flights, fighting for taxis and hunting for hotel rooms.



The storm wreaked havoc on almost every form of conveyance: from the buses at the nation's busiest terminal near Times Square to the region's usually punctual commuter trains.



Little problems quickly snowballed: On New Jersey's Garden State Parkway, a motorist struggled to find the shoulder of the road after his wife went into labor, causing a traffic jam that eventually stranded 30 vehicles, state trooper Chris Menello said.



Across the region, the storm's aftermath was punctuated by surreal moments, like the sight of Adrian Traylor, 29, roaming the Newark airport terminal in a Scottish kilt and bare legs as subfreezing winds howled outside.



Traylor, who lives in Scotland, was on his way to visit relatives in Las Vegas and said he wore the kilt to impress his family.



"I didn't think I'd be wearing it this long," he said.



Christopher Mullen returned from sunny Cancun, Mexico, to find his car buried in the snow in long-term parking at New York's Kennedy airport. After trying to dig it out and getting soaked in the process, he finally gave up and took the subway — which promptly broke down.



Mullen and his girlfriend spent eight hours in a freezing subway car, shivering under a thin blanket.



The storm was New York City's sixth worst since 1869, when records began, said Adrienne Leptich, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.



A Feb. 11-12, 2006, storm dropped 26.9 inches (68.3 centimeters) of snow on Central Park, breaking the previous record, set in 1947, by half an inch (12.7 centimeters). The storm that hit the city Sunday left 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow in Central Park.



The storm spared no one, not even men who travel on ice for a living. A bus carrying the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team got stuck in the blizzard for four hours while trying to return to their hotel after a game against the New Jersey Devils. And, members of the U.S. luge team lost two days of training after they were stranded on their way to Koenigssee, Germany.



In Philadelphia, pedestrians dodged chunks of ice blown off skyscrapers.



Some travelers tried to make the best of it. At the Newark airport, Frank Mann, his son 9-year-old son Stephen and his girlfriend Jackie Douglas said their night on the terminal floor was sort of like taking a camping trip.



They made beds out of luggage trays turned upside down, ate hot dogs from the snack bar and even did some bird-watching: pigeons seeking refuge from the elements were taking baths in puddles of water dripping from the ceiling.



When things got boring, Stephen pulled out his Kindle to finish a book he had started before getting stranded.



The book was about another youngster stranded far from home by bad weather: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PMLD Teaching Assistant Required - Nottingham

£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently looking to ...

IT Support Technician (2nd Line / Server Support) - Bedford

£24000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: 2nd line IT Support Techn...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments