Frigid temperatures to persist as northeastern U.S. digs out from snow
(Reuters) - Residents of the northeastern United States on Wednesday looked to dig themselves out from a storm that has dumped over a foot of snow in many places, snarling traffic and forcing the Philadelphia school system to shut down.
The weather system packing snow and Arctic cold forced the cancellation of over 3,000 flights.
Before the end of Tuesday, parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey had seen about 15 inches of snow, said Stephen Corfidi with the National Weather Service.
States across the northeast, including New York, declared emergencies and warned residents not to travel during the fast-moving storm.
Far less snowfall is expected for Wednesday, but flurries will touch parts of New England as the weather system moves north toward the Canadian Maritimes, Corfidi said.
"The real story is going to be a persistent period of cold in the wake of this system," he said.
Temperatures in western Pennsylvania will dip below 0 Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius), and many other areas in the northeast will not see the mercury rise above 20F (minus 7C), Corfidi said.
In anticipation of the harsh weather, Philadelphia closed its schools and all city offices. In New York, school children would have to go without a snow day on Wednesday, as the public school system planned to remain in operation, according to the city's Department of Education.
Metro-North, the suburban commuter rail service serving northern suburbs of New York City, warned on its website of possible weather-related delays on Wednesday.
Amid heavy snowfall on Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers in Washington were ordered to stay home. City schools and offices also shut down, and the White House called off its Tuesday press briefing.
But the Supreme Court remained open to hear cases, and organizers of the annual anti-abortion March for Life said Wednesday's rally would go on regardless of weather.
The federal government was slated to be open on Wednesday, but employees have the option of taking unscheduled leave or working from home.
On Tuesday, state governments in Delaware and Maryland shut down due to the storm and Connecticut sent nonessential state workers home in the afternoon.
The streets of downtown Rockville, Maryland, were mostly empty on Tuesday afternoon, except for crews removing snow.
Mike Rogers, 49, of Howard County, a contractor for Ruppert Landscaping, had been clearing the sidewalk with a snow blower since late morning. "I like the snow, personally," he said. "I'm not working if it doesn't snow."
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Dave Warner in Philadelphia; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)