Storms cause havoc for families, schools in US Northeast
New York: A winter storm that froze the US southeast in its tracks pushed north on Thursday, with driving winds and heavy snow snarling travel and closing many schools from Washington to Connecticut, creating havoc for winter-weary parents.
About 740,000 businesses and homes, including residents of Georgia and South Carolina hit by a heavy blast of ice a day earlier, were without power as the storm made its way up the coast and threatened to drop up to 18 inches (45 cm) of snow in some areas.
With renewed snowfall shrouding the US Capitol after nightfall, the National Weather Service said heavy snow would continue for the northeast but would begin to taper off from south to north on Friday morning.
Coastal New England is forecast to see rain, with sleet or freezing rain mixed in, it said.
Repeated winter storms are taking a toll on schools and families, as snow-related cancellations left parents scrambling to find child-care options and administrators looking at making up lost days by extending classes into the summer.
New York City Public Schools, having taken only one snow day this year, proved an exception and remained open.
Jane Mills, a former teacher from Nashville, Tennessee, who was walking with her 6-year-old granddaughter in Brooklyn, said it was "absolutely ridiculous" that public schools were open.
"It`s a danger to the students traveling in buses or cars. It`s a danger to teachers commuting," said Mills.
About 6,900 US flights were canceled and another 3,900 were delayed, said flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.
Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, Atlanta`s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport were the hardest hit, FlightAware said.
About 1,000 people spent the night on cots and mats at the Charlotte airport. Across the state in Durham, motorists stuck in traffic that resembled the gridlock mess in Atlanta two weeks ago found refuge for the night at a mall.
The storm system, which has dumped heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain from eastern Texas to the Carolinas since Tuesday, was blamed for at least 15 deaths in the South.
In New York, a pregnant 36-year-old woman was killed by a private snow plow in a parking lot in Brooklyn, said police spokeswoman Sergeant Jessica McRorie. Doctors at a nearby hospital were trying to save the baby.
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