A new storm is due to strike New York and neighbouring New Jersey, forcing new coastal evacuation and major airlines to cancel more than 1,000 flights in and out of the area.
The severe weather, with sleet, rain and winds gusting to a maximum of 96 km per hour, came just over a week after hurricane-strength Sandy wrought serious damage on the region and caused travel chaos.
The gale, though less powerful than Sandy, raised concerns for the tens of thousands of people around New York remaining without power and often heating
As of noon Eastern (16:00 GMT), about 1,200 flights had been canceled for Wednesday, according to flight tracker FlightAware.
United was suspending most service in New York. American Airlines was shutting down in New York at 3 pm (19:00 GMT). It also was stopping flights to and from Philadelphia at noon (16:00 GMT).
Most other airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp., were asking passengers to reschedule their Northeast flights for a later date and waiving the usual change fees of up to $150.
JetBlue, the biggest domestic airline at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, said its operations had just gotten back to normal Monday.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday announced a limited evacuation of some nursing homes and low-lying coastal neighbourhoods ahead of possible flooding and NY1 local television showed earth movers making a sand berm along the beach to protect the hard-hit Rockaways neighbourhood.
The Mayor closed parks and beaches and temporarily halted outdoor construction ahead of the storm. Similar small-scale evacuations were ordered in low-lying parts of New Jersey.
“Under normal circumstances, it would likely result in minor coastal flooding in low-lying areas, and the normal risk of downed trees associated with these types of storms,” the mayor’s office said.
However, Sandy had already weakened trees, so “the predicted wind speeds present an increased risk of more downed trees and tree limbs, as well as windblown debris. All New Yorkers are urged to stay indoors during inclement conditions.”
The smaller but still powerful Nor’easter approached from the Atlantic Ocean and threatened inland areas with powerful winds that could blow down trees and limbs weakened from Sandy, the National Weather Service said while forecasting a wintry mix of rain and snow from northern Maryland to central New England.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was working with state and local authorities and was “ready to deploy additional resources if needed to respond to the Nor’easter.”