'Storm Stella' brings blizzards and disruption to US northeast

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters
'Storm Stella' brings blizzards and disruption to US northeast

Snow has been piling up in parts of the northeastern United States as a huge winter storm named “Stella” brought blizzards and disruption in several states.

In Washington the scenes helped explain why the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was postponed. Snow blanketed the streets, and as elsewhere, schools were closed and traffic became jammed up.

New York City too has had its share of snow – along with strong gusts of wind and icy rain.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the storm spared the city itself and hadn’t been as bad as predicted – but at least a couple of districts had experienced blizzard conditions.

“Mother nature is an unpredictable lady sometimes. She was unpredictable once again today. All the forecasts said the storm would hit New York City and Long Island the heaviest, although it would affect the entire state,” he told a news briefing.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned that some 50 million people from Pennsylvania to Maine might be affected.

Airlines cancelled several thousand flights across the country. LaGuardia in New York was among the worst hit where some airlines grounded all services.

“All the other flights are booked so they have to book us on Friday. My vacation ends Wednesday so I’m spending half of my vacation in this airport,” said passenger Lisa Pierce, who was trying to travel to Nashville, Tennessee.

Some travellers went to hotels – others, unwilling or unable to pay the price, or perhaps just hoping for conditions to improve, waited and slept at the airport.

The storm – and the troubles it has brought – comes near the end of an unusually mild winter along much of the East Coast.