NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - A record breaking winter storm walloped the northeastern United States on Monday, burying Boston to force the delay of its Super Bowl victory parade and leaving behind more than a foot (30 cm) of snow in the Chicago area.
The second major storm in less than a week pummeled residents from New York City to Boston with snow, freezing rain and gusty winds, and was blamed for at least four deaths.
Boston, already blanketed by two feet (60 cm) of snow from a blizzard last week and predicted to get another foot, set a record for the snowiest seven-day period in the city’s history. The 34.2 inches (86.8 cm) measured by 1 p.m. on Monday surpassed the 31.2 inches (79.2 cm) set in January 1996.
Heavy snowfall expected to last until about midnight prompted Mayor Marty Walsh to postpone by one day until Wednesday the parade to celebrate the New England Patriots’ 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s National Football League championship game. The snow also delayed until Wednesday jury selection for the federal trial of the accused Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
About 2,900 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O‘Hare International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport, according to Flightaware.com.
In the Boston suburb of Weymouth, a snow plow struck a woman, identified as Cynthia Levine, 57, as she walked through the parking lot of her condominium complex, killing her, police said.
The death of a dining hall worker at the University of Connecticut who spent overnight storm duty in a dormitory dining room also was linked to the weather. The state medical examiner was conducting an autopsy, university officials said.
Two other people were killed on Monday in a highway accident in Indiana, police said. They said hazardous road conditions caused by the storm may have been a contributing factor.
Snow and ice in New York City, where as much as 6 inches (15 cm) of snow was forecast, caused a crowded subway train to stall on an elevated stretch of track.
So many workers - 36 percent of staff - failed to make it to the Cook County Jail in Chicago that it was put on lockdown, limiting visitation for the 9,000 inmates typically housed there, Sheriff Tom Dart said.
Snow-weary residents could take little comfort from groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, who emerged from his burrow on Monday morning in western Pennsylvania and saw his shadow. According to legend, seeing his shadow means six more weeks of winter.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warned residents of Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and northern Connecticut to expect as much as a foot (30 cm) of fresh snow from the potent storm.
Plowing crews in Maine, where nearly three feet (90 cm) of snow fell last week, struggled to cope with the accumulation.
The NWS warned of dangerous wind chills through the coming days. “Bitterly cold weather will settle in behind this system from the Upper Midwest to New England,” it said.
The storm, which dropped more than 19 inches (48 cm) of snow at O‘Hare airport, prompted some Chicago residents to use the traditional “dibs” system to reserve dug-out parking spaces with lawn chairs, laundry baskets or other household items.
“You have to. You put time in, and time is money,” said plumber Keith Glover, 32.
If someone were to move his markers and take his spot, he said, “I’d bury the car in snow. Then they can dig it out.”
Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen and Barbara Goldberg in New York, Richard Weizel in Connecticut, Mary Wisniewski, Fiona Ortiz and Christine Stebbins in Chicago, Elizabeth Daley in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Dave Sherwood in Bowdoinham, Maine and Tim McLaughlin in Boston; Editing by Will Dunham and Grant McCool