The U.S. Northeast struggled to dig out on Sunday from another major winter storm that made February the snowiest month in Boston's history, but bitter subzero cold and huge drifts hampered the effort.
Blizzard conditions forced the cancelation of more than 1,600 U.S. airline flights, most of them into and out of airports in Boston and New York, where wind gusts of up to 97 kph (60 mph) were predicted.
Temperatures are 25 to 30 degrees below normal for the East Coast, exacerbated by strong winds, said meteorologist Bruce Sullivan of the National Weather Service, adding the region was in the grip of “a brutally cold air mass.”
The latest storm heaped disappointment on retailers who were relying on the Presidents' Day long weekend and Valentine's Day to make up for subpar sales during the last three lashings of snow.
Record snowfall in Boston
Massive snowfall from Boston's fourth major snowstorm in two weeks set a record for the city's snowiest month since weather records were kept, the National Weather Service said.
Boston had seen about 1.8 meters (6 feet) of snow since late January and had already set a record for accumulations in a single week.
“I don't know what to say to anybody anymore,” Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said on Sunday. “Hopefully, it will stop eventually.”
The area's deepest snowfall on Sunday was 50 centimetes (20 inches) recorded in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the coastal town northeast of Boston, said NWS meteorologist Benjamin Sipprell.
Relentless winds were expected to pile up dangerous drifts of the lightweight snow, Sipprell said.
Conditions were so treacherous that Interstate 195 was shut down after a snow plow got stuck, Massachusetts State Police said in a tweet.
Across the state, about 600 members of the National Guard were helping out during the blizzard, said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Conditions were so bad in New Hampshire that the town of Alton called off its annual ice carnival this weekend.
New storm headed east
While still shivering from the brutal cold expected to last through Monday, the East Coast is bracing for another storm front forming near the Tennessee Valley.
Freezing rain and sleet were forecast for Monday night in Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, Sullivan said.
The system was expected to head east, turning to snow that could snarl Tuesday morning commutes into Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Richmond.