Storm caused havoc on E. Coast

Associated Press / December 21, 2009

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CHERRY HILL, N.J. - The fierce weekend storm that stranded travelers up the Atlantic coast from Virginia to New England dropped more than 2 feet of snow in some areas, and conditions remained treacherous yesterday.

Arriving on the cusp of the winter solstice, the storm dropped 16 inches of snow on Reagan National Airport outside Washington Saturday, the most ever recorded there for a single December day, and gave southern New Jersey its highest single-storm snowfall totals in nearly four years.

The National Weather Service said the storm gave Philadelphia, which began keeping records in 1884, its second-largest snowfall: 23.2 inches. Even more was recorded in the Philadelphia suburb of Medford, N.J., at 24 inches.

Around New York City, the brunt of the storm hit Long Island, with whiteout conditions and 26.3 inches in Upton, an all-time record since measurements began in 1949.

Nearly 11 inches of snow fell on New York City, and the storm could be the worst the city has seen since about 26 inches fell in February 2006, said National Weather Service meteorologist Patrick Maloit.

Even as the storm wound down in the New York area, drivers were advised to stay off the roads, Maloit said. Bus, subways, and trains were delayed, including a Long Island Railroad train that held about 150 passengers for more than five hours before backing up and unloading them.

Airports in the Northeast that were jammed Saturday were working their way back to normal operations.

About 800 flights at the New York City area’s three major airports remained canceled despite clear conditions on the runways.

By yesterday morning, one runway at Dulles International Airport in Washington was open, handling arriving flights, spokeswoman Tara Hamilton. At Reagan National, crews were still moving huge quantities of snow in hope of opening the airport by midday.