A winter storm Monday paralyzed a large section of the Northeast from Ohio to New England, shrouding Maryland and Massachusetts in blizzards and closing schools, offices and major highways with more than a foot of wind-whipped snow and five-foot drifts.
"It was really bad. . . . You couldn't see your hand in front of your face," said Pat Duffy, a desk clerk at the Knights Inn in Mentor, Ohio.
Philadelphia International Airport was closed until Monday afternoon, and "a few delays" were reported at New York City's La Guardia Airport as winds gusted near 60 m.p.h.
The heaviest snowfall amounts included 15 inches in Chili Center, N.Y., and 14 inches over northeast Ohio, the state's traditional snow belt east of Cleveland, while 12 inches of snow across Cape May County in southern New Jersey prompted local officials to declare a snow emergency. The New Jersey Assembly canceled its Monday session in Trenton.
'At a Standstill'
"We're having a hell of a time," emergency coordinator Lyn Simmerman said. "Everything is pretty much at a standstill."
Snow and wind gusts in excess of 60 m.p.h. extended from the Great Lakes across the Appalachians to New England and the mid-Atlantic Coast, while rain mixed with snow fell as far south as Tennessee.
"This is the worst storm of the year, as far as road conditions are concerned," said Police Chief Kent Carper in Charleston, W. Va., where high winds, freezing rain and snow sent cars into ditches and tractor-trailers skidding sideways on state roads.
Blizzard conditions were reported in Oakland, Md., as winds faster than 40 m.p.h. whipped around snow accumulations of about six inches.
Foot of Snow Forecast
Blizzard conditions also were reported over Cape Cod, Mass., where up to a foot of snow was forecast.
Several major interstates in Ohio were closed, while schools and universities canceled or delayed classes in many counties of West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, New York and Delaware.