Photos: The East Coast digs out

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  1. Snow covers the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Terminal 4 on Tuesday, Dec. 28, in New York City. Flights have slowly started to resume in New York but lines to rebook have been long. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. People sleep and eat on the floor while waiting for a flight at Terminal 4 of John F. Kennedy International Airport Tuesday. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A New Jersey Transit train arrives at the Princeton Junction station Tuesday in West Windsor, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A front-end loader removes snow in New York's Times Square on Tuesday ahead of New Year festivities. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A doorman shovels a path on the east side of Manhattan on Tuesday after the blizzard dropped 20 inches of snow in the area. (Stan Honda / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Dave Duncan sits in his Honda Civic, buried on the street, in Asbury Park, N.J., on Tuesday. (Beth Defalco / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Travelers wait in ticketing lines at New York's LaGuardia airport on Tuesday. (Don Emmert / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Icicles melt in the afternoon sun as temperatures rise into the high 30s Tuesday in Hamilton, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. This traveler at Miami International Airport was among the many waiting Tuesday for flights after the Northeast blizzard caused backups across the country. (Jeffrey Boan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A young person sleds down a snow covered hill at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia on Monday. A blizzard pummeled the Northeast on Monday, dumping up to 29 inches of snow, disrupting air and rail travel and challenging motorists with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend. New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Travelers carry their luggage through a snow bank on 7th Ave. in front of Penn Station after a snow storm in New York, Dec. 27. A blizzard pummeled the Northeast on Monday, dumping up to 29 inches of snow, disrupting air and rail travel and challenging motorists with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend. New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A windswept beach looks desolate following a snow storm on Monday in Westport, Conn. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Children play on a mound of snow on The Boardwalk, Dec. 27, in Atlantic City, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Gregg Smith shovels out after a heavy snowfall in the Boston suburb of Marlborough, Mass., Dec. 27. A powerful East Coast blizzard menaced would-be travelers by air, rail and highway Monday, leaving thousands without a way to get home after the holidays. (Bill Sikes / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Alexa Canning and Talia Quinn fly through the air after hitting a jump on their sleds in Norfolk, Massachusetts. (Matt Campbell / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A man shovels snow on a street along the Brooklyn waterfront, Dec. 27, in New York City. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Commuters, who were trapped over night, sit on parked trains at Penn Station in New York City on Monday. (Andrew Gombert / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. A woman exercises in a snow covered pasture in Durham, N.C., Monday, after a powerful East Coast blizzard that moved through Christmas day. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A strong gust of wind blows snow in front of a man in Philadelphia, Monday. (Matt Rourke / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A woman walks her dog between snowed-in taxicabs following a major blizzard in Manhattan's Greenwich Village on Monday in New York City. (Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Elena Amaral shovels steps at Trinity College during the storm in Hartford, Conn., Monday. (Jessica Hill / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A homeowner clears snow from the end of his driveway, Dec. 27, in Norfolk, Mass., following the blizzard which brought more than a foot of snow in the Boston area. The storm dumped snow from Atlanta, Ga. to Maine. (Matt Campbell / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Michael Howard of Albany, N.Y., shovels out his vehicle on Monday. (Mike Groll / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. A woman walks through the snow in Manhattan's East Village in the early hours of Monday. (Mario Tama / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. A New Jersey state trooper arrives to help after cars crash during heavy snowfall on Sunday near Columbus, N.J. (Mel Evans / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. A worker clears snow from the seats at the Philadelphia Eagles stadium. (Tim Shaffer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. The storm moved up from the south, where areas like Raleigh, N.C., saw snow over the weekend as well. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 12/27/2010 6:11:12 PM ET 2010-12-27T23:11:12

The winter storm that has been slogging up the East Coast for three days is leaving some travelers in desperate straits.

Some are stranded in airports with food supplies, not just flights, running low. Others are stuck a little more happily with old friends. But nothing has gone as planned, it seems.

Here are some stories from the storm.

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Meghan Johnson, of Roanoke, Va., is stuck in New York City with her epilepsy medication running low and her stress level running high.

Some medicine she can get from a drug store in a pinch — but one of them she needs to get from Canada because it's not approved in the U.S.

Johnson, a 28-year-old disability analyst who was supposed to get back home Sunday, says she's been up late worrying about her shifting travel plans and how the medication she needs is back in Virginia — so she's gulping Sumatra blend to stay awake during the day.

She fears the combination will bring on a seizure: "It's kind of like a freight train. You know it's coming, but who knows when?"

Johnson, who's staying with the friend in Brooklyn Heights she was visiting for the holiday weekend, doesn't think she can get home until Thursday.

She's looking on the bright side: The delay has made for a longer visit; a chance to watch movies, read books and throw snowballs; and watch as a few brave drivers slide haplessly in the street.

But she knows that when she gets home, there's going to be a mountain of work waiting for her — and she'll probably be stuck in the office next weekend getting caught up.

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After beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 in Newark, N.J., the Toronto Maple Leafs boarded their bus for the 20-minute ride to their hotel. They arrived five hours later, at 3 a.m.

Center Tyler Bozak told his Twitter followers in one middle-of-the-night dispatch: "Roads closed in new jersey stuck on the bussss. Brutaallll!!"

Dave Poulin, team vice president of hockey operations, said the bus got stuck when state police closed the highway about two miles from the Leafs' destination.

The team was little worse for the wear.

"You're on a great big warm bus that's absolutely full with 200 gallons of gas," he said. Other vehicles, he said, slid into the ditch or didn't have enough fuel to keep the heat on through the night.

The next concern, though, was when Newark's airport would open so the team's plane could head back to Toronto, where a game is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Kyle Szatkowski got stuck in a snow bank as he was driving and had to call a plow — ironic, since he was driving one.

He caught some sleep in his truck, which got stuck at the intersection of Main Street and 3rd Avenue in Asbury Park., N.J., around 1 a.m.

"I kept waiting for plows to come by, and none were coming," Szatkowski said. "It's been a complete nightmare."

His adventure came as he driving from Long Branch to help dig out two other plows stuck in a parking lot. After getting stuck for two hours near Allenhurst, he managed to get free, only to get stuck again in Asbury Park, where cars were strewn along the street with chilled drivers trying to dig out.

"I've helped so many people, my jeans are soaked," he said. "It's nuts."

He kept the motor running and heat on through the night to stay warm. By the time the city was coming to life Monday morning, he was out of diesel fuel. Hours later, he was still looking for some and his plow was still stranded.

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The stress, the sniping, the language barriers escalated at the Newark airport as Frank Mann and Jackie Douglas strove to get to Greece for a vacation with Mann's 9-year-old son, Stephen.

"People were yelling at each other, yelling at employees," said Frank Mann, 53. "One day you're celebrating Christmas and everyone's happy, and the next it's like this."

They arrived on a flight from Houston on Sunday afternoon, as the blizzard was intensifying. The flight to Athens was scratched.

At the terminal, they discovered that shuttle buses, taxis and the airport monorail had stopped running — so there was no way to get to a hotel.

Tensions were high as everyone else at the airport found themselves in the same boat.

But soon, strangers began swapping stories. An airline employee handed out blankets. The hum of empty baggage carousels became white noise for people trying to sleep. Pigeons bathing in puddles provided entertainment.

The ruined trip to Greece had turned into a camping trip at the airport.

And Stephen found solace in a book he was reading on a Kindle, the story of another youngster stranded far from home by a storm — L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

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Shafqat Hayatin hoped to cash in on the bad weather Sunday evening by ferrying stranded New Yorkers in his cab. He wound up stranded himself, with his cab doubling as his bedroom for about eight hours.

Hayat's hopes for a big night ended when he turned onto Manhattan's 33rd Street, which hadn't been plowed. He called five or six towing companies but, with much of the rest of New York in the same boat, got no answer.

"The street was so bad, I got stuck in here," Hayatin said Monday morning as he woke up in his cab, still stalled on the island's West Side. "I had enough gas to leave my car on, so I've been sleeping in the heat."

He said his other option was to leave the car and go home — but he didn't want to abandon the vehicle in the middle of a street.

Hayatin said he has driven a cab since 1988.

"I've seen a lot of snow before," he said, "but on the roads, I've never seen so many cars stuck in 22 years."

He was able to drive off a little after 8 a.m.

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Jason Cochran, a travel writer and consumer reporter who lives in Manhattan, figured his flight to London for work would be canceled.

But he also knew that if he didn't get to Kennedy Airport in time, he would probably face fees for trying to change his tickets.

So he arrived at the airport around 4 p.m. — the start of a grueling journey that didn't cover much distance, as plans changed by the hour.

The originally scheduled flight boarded, and it seemed it would fly before the worst weather moved into New York City.

"For a moment we thought we were the luckiest people in New York City," he said.

It didn't last. The flight didn't take off. The hotel rooms promised by the airline didn't materialize. He received vouchers for meals, but hardly any food was left in the terminal.

By Monday morning, his best hope was a flight scheduled to leave in the evening. He longed for home in the meantime. "I never thought I would be stuck at the airport when I live 10 miles away," he said.

Not that getting home for a few hours was entirely impossible. He found a cab willing to take him there — for $100.

Cochran declined.

___

Ken and Frances Borden found themselves in Cleveland on Monday when they really wanted to be home in New York after a trip full of unwanted adventure.

Ken, 63, and Frances, 70, both private school teachers who live in Amenia, N.Y., spent a week in Ecuador, where they were robbed and they had to make a long side trip to replace Ken's passport.

They were able to continue their journey only after a stranger at the Quito airport loaned them $200. Then their flight back to Newark was diverted to Cleveland.

Airline officials said they could fly back to Newark — but not until Friday. So on Monday, the weary travelers waited in line at a Greyhound bus station, preparing for an eight-hour ride to New York.

"It's been an adventure," Frances Borden said. "But we just want to get home."

Mulvihill reported from Haddonfield, N.J. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Beth DeFalco in Asbury Park, N.J.; Christopher Hawley, in Newark, N.J., David Sharp in Portland, Maine; Russell Contreras in Cleveland; and David Porter and Deepti Hajela in New York.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Northeast digs out of snow daze

  1. Closed captioning of: Northeast digs out of snow daze

    >>> the place. this one was the real thing. and there are piles of snow throughout new york city . for that matter, throughout the eastern seaboard . this is what an average new york city side street looks like. piles of snow this big and larger. cars buried. the problem is, this isn't an average new york city side street . we're standing in the middle of 49th street , just near the base of the world famous 30 rock christmas tree where millions of people come to see this site every year. this churning blizzard starting in the south, came up through new york city . again, the mid-atlantic, all the way through new england. and this was a whiteout here at this time yesterday. a history maker , no doubt. records fell along the length of the storm. 80 million americans were impacted by the storm, and look at that stat, 35 million americans witnessed blizzard conditions. transportation completely paralyzed. trains, planes and automobiles, all of it came to a complete halt. highways blocked to traffic. air travel , forget it. at the end of the day , when the storm is all said and done, it's estimated 6,000 total flight cancellations, domestic and international. my colleague, lester holt out in it all day and starting things off for us tonight in manhattan. lester, good evening.

    >> reporter: new york took the hardest hit from this, about 20 inches in the area i'm standing. up to 2 1/2 feet in other parts of the metropolitan area . keep in mind, all of this in the back of some pierce and howling winds. therefore, a city that usually prides itself on jumping back from these sorts of things rather quickly finds itself still struggling to recover tonight. the big apple woke up this morning frozen in time. the storm dropped up to three inches of snow an hour at times. too much for nows to keep up with. it even lit up the skies with lightning and sent claps of thunder booming over manhattan. it was a one-two punch that turned the storm into a blinding blizzard.

    >> a lot of snow, but have we seen winds like this before?

    >> it was the combination of the two. may believe you go back in history a hundred years or so, but it's been a long time since we've seen a some of 60 miles an hour winds and 20 inches of snow.

    >> reporter: states of emergency were declared in at least six states from the carolinas up through new england. snow totals range from 12.4 inches in philadelphia, to just over 19 inches in massachusetts. the new york area was hardest hit, with 29 inches on staten island , and 32 in nearby new jersey. normally bustling, new york streets were littered with abandoned cars, buses and emergency vehicles . tonight, the city's ems city is reportedly overwhelmed with a backlog of calls.

    >> not enough people listened to oured our admonition.

    >> reporter: passengers stranded for six hours sent photos and reports by cell phone to new york one television.

    >> it is very, very cold.

    >> reporter: the tomorrow barreled up out of the south yesterday and for a time it was virtually the only thing moving up the i-95 corridor. amtrak canceled new york -boston service. airlines canceled 1,400 flights in new york on sunday. all three new york airports remained closed well into this afternoon.

    >> we've been waiting for this trip all christmas break .

    >> reporter: in massachusetts, toppled power lines left tens of thousands without power and made it difficult for firefighters to save this burning house in brockton.

    >> it's a nightmare. that's the word.

    >> reporter: dangerous conditions in philadelphia, even forced postponement of last night's scheduled game between the eagles and minnesota.

    >> the reason this game has been postponed until tuesday is out of concern for public safety . travel in and around. that's the reason, not what we're seeing here.

    >> reporter: here in new york tonight, the head of the union that represents ems workers says because so many ambulances are stuck, response times are up to three hours for emergency calls here, brian, adding more urgency to clearing this city's 6,000 miles of streets.

    >> lester holt on this cold night a few blocks away from our location here in new york . lester, thanks.

Interactive: Powerful winter storm bears down on North East coast

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