NEW YORK: The winter storm, predicted to be one of the worst ever to hit New York City, failed to deliver much of a blow, but slammed New England the region consisting of the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut burying the stretch with as much as two feet of snow.
But it still brought the city to a halt, including the United Nations, whose headquarters was closed on Tuesday.
As travel bans were lifted and transit services gradually restored on Tuesday morning the impact of the decision to shut down the subway and order most drivers off the roads continued to be felt across the region.
“YUP, IT SNOWED!” headlined New York’s Daily News tabloid, taking matters in stride, the way New Yorkers typically pride themselves on doing.
Police said a teenager died late on Monday when he crashed into a lamppost on a street where he was snow-tubing on Long Island, one of the hardest hit areas in New York state.
The National Weather Service lifted its blizzard warning for the New York City area, but throughout the region offices were closed, schools were shut, some roads remained impassable, and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed. Even the United Nations Headquarters in New York was closed on Tuesday.
A blizzard warning remained in effect for much of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where snow was expected to fall throughout the day at a rate as high as 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) an hour.
Boston could receive up to 25 inches (64 cm) of accumulation, approaching the record of 27.5 inches (69.85 cm) set in February 2003.
Some in New York criticized the aggressive warnings of officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who for the first time in history ordered the city’s round-the-clock subways to close for a snowstorm. Officials with vivid memories of disasters including 2012’s Super storm Sandy defended their actions.
Stuck at home, Northeasterners spent their energy on social media, filling Twitter and Facebook with photos of snow drifts covering the doors of their homes and what appeared to be a person in Boston dressed as the Yeti, a mythical abominable snowman, on hashtags including “#snowmaggeddon2015” and “#blizzardof2015.”
Some cab drivers in New York doubled fares and sought to pack additional passengers into their vehicles as office workers headed to their jobs.
The New York Stock Exchange, owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N), opened as usual. Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ.O), and BATS Global Markets also expected to stay open for normal operating hours on Tuesday.
New Yorkers were divided on whether officials had over-reacted in ordering dramatic shutdowns ahead of the storm.
Others were frustrated that de Blasio had preemptively shut the subway and ordered cabs off the roads.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo defended the decisions, which had included a driving ban in New York City and its surrounding counties overnight. “I would rather, if there is a lean one way or another, lean towards safety because I have seen the consequences the other way and it gets very frightening very quickly … we have had people die in storms,” Cuomo told reporters. “I would rather be in a situation where we say ‘We got lucky.'”
Some of the heaviest snowfall was recorded in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, with about 20 inches (50 cm) reported around Worcester, well over the 6 inches (15 cm) reported in New York City’s Central Park.
Fewer Massachusetts residents and businesses lost power than was expected, Governor Baker said, adding that temperatures well below freezing had resulted in light snow. High winds could yet result in additional outages, he said.
“We’ll continue to see high winds throughout the course of the day,” Baker told reporters on Tuesday. “People should spend the morning digging out, cleaning up.”
Some 34,700 customers across the storm-hit region were without power, according to local utilities, with the bulk of the outages on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and outlying islands.