Brrr! East Coast Digs out after a Ferocious Blizzard

Article excerpt

CLEANUP crews were out in full force yesterday as residents from Maine to Florida dug their way out of the snowy aftermath of the weekend East Coast blizzard.

The howling winter storm, which left record snowfalls and packed winds up to 100 m.p.h., resulted in the death of 42 people, 18 of them in Florida, which was pounded by fierce tornadoes. Snowfall was heavy across the South, with two to three feet in western North Carolina, two feet in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, and 21 inches in eastern Tennessee.

Roadways and airports were closed in major cities while residents coped with power outages, flooding, and hazardous driving conditions. Governors of 12 states declared emergencies.

Shelters offered a warm bed and a meal for residents throughout the eastern United States. Kim Reed and three relatives stayed in a Red Cross shelter Saturday night in Lynn, Mass., after they found themselves without electricity and heat. "We bundled up the babies and we came here {to the shelter} and I practically ran," Ms. Reed said. "But it took us about an hour to get there. The snow drifts were up to my thighs."

As the storm passed by the nation's capital, weathermen reported the lowest barometric pressure in the history of Washington - 28.56 inches, a pressure even lower than in the eye of Hurricane Hugo. Yet Washington's all-time record was soon exceeded by both Philadelphia and New York City, where the pressure later dropped to 28.43 inches.

Washington battened down like a schooner heading into a storm as the blizzard approached. Grocery stores were jammed, with long lines of shoppers and overflowing carts at checkout counters. But the city, notorious for shutting down at the first hint of snow, weathered the storm rather well. Major streets and highways were plowed and traffic kept moving.

By Sunday, the worst of the storm was over, but strong gusts picked up fallen snow and sent it swirling through neighborhoods. …