December 20, 2014
Superbowl fans trapped by snowstorm in Northeast US
A fast-moving winter storm swept into the US Northeast today, yet again forcing flight cancellations, slowing traffic and proving weather-forecasting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil right.
Travelers leaving the New York City area after last night's Super Bowl championship football game faced long delays at the region's airports and risky driving on snow-covered roads.
Hardest hit by the storm-related flight delays and cancellations was Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, the closest to the stadium where the Denver Broncos fell to the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 in the National Football League's matchup.
The storm was expected to drop 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) of snow on an area stretching from eastern Kentucky to eastern New York state, the National Weather Service said.
"Snow is coming down faster than we can plow it," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference.
He said efforts to plow city streets were aimed at an improved performance over the cleanup of a big storm in late January.
In that storm, some residents of Manhattan's tony Upper East Side neighborhood claimed their streets were ignored as part of the mayor's key campaign theme of addressing income inequality.
"The response to the last storm obviously left something to be desired," de Blasio said at the news conference.
He said New York City has adjusted how it responds to storms by coordinating agency efforts, changing snow removal routes and scouting conditions in various neighborhoods.
"It's good we got the Super Bowl done so well" before the storm hit, added de Blasio, whose city shared in the Super Bowl hosting honors with New Jersey.
At Newark Airport across the Hudson River in New Jersey, 204 flights were canceled as of midafternoon on Monday, according to Flightaware.com, an online site that tracks air traffic.
Plenty of football fans were stewing after getting stuck for hours trying to board trains to and from the game at the New Jersey Transit hub station of Secaucus Junction.
"So, folks spent $1500+ for the honor of 3 hours to get in their seats, 6 hours to leave, & now 3 hour snow delay at the airport," noted one observer on Twitter.
Declaring it the first-ever "Transit Bowl," New Jersey Transit tweeted that it transported more than 33,000 fans, which it said was four times as many people as the National Football League had predicted.