NEW YORK — The Blizzard of 2010 continued to impact millions on Tuesday — from travelers stuck at airports across the country trying to get to the Northeast, to New Yorkers mad that their streets still hadn't been plowed.
In New Jersey on Tuesday, a full day after the snow stopped falling, conditions were still so bad that some post offices didn't deliver mail, one major road was closed, others were reduced to one or two lanes, and officials made sure that people weren't still stuck in the hundreds of cars stranded along roadways.
In Boston, tens of thousands of customers were left without power after 18.2 inches of snow fell, 10th most since the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1892. The city lifted its snow emergency Monday evening and public transit operated with only minor hitches Tuesday.
But the worst of the snow, and the loudest complaints, were in New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday called the blizzard "not like any other" storm to hit the city.
"We still have a long way to go," he told a press conference, but some 1,000 vehicles were removed from key highways on Monday and the city is hiring private plows to help.
It's "the biggest effort to clear snow that our city has ever seen," he said.
Bloomberg defended his fire, police and transportation departments, saying the enormity of the blizzard overwhelmed the city and hundreds of abandoned vehicles made it that much harder to plow streets.
But, in response to a reporter's question about frustrated residents, he added that "I'm angry too" about the cleanup pace.Video: Watch towed snow plow hit car (on this page)
Hundreds of city buses and dozens of ambulances remained stuck in the snow throughout the city, and officials predicted streets would not be clear for another 24 hours, a day later than they first promised.
"And even then I'm not so sure," Bloomberg said.
"The bottom line is, we're doing everything we possibly can and pulling every resource from every possible place to meet the unique challenges that this storm is posing," he added.
Bloomberg said emergency vehicles erred in trying to navigate unplowed streets during the storm, and New Yorkers also should not have ignored warnings and driven during that time.
The fire department said it received more than 4,000 calls during the storm — its busiest day in recent memory, apart from the Sept. 11 attack.
Brooklyn resident Annie O'Daly waited more than 30 hours for help after falling and breaking her ankle Sunday night at around 8 p.m., said Jim Leonhardt, her husband. An ambulance didn't arrive until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Leonhardt had to help paramedics carry her out onto the unplowed street and over a snowbank.Story: Stuck on the tarmac: Headaches begin at landing
Commuters on Tuesday saw major delays and route changes on buses and trains, while air travelers turned terminals into open-air hotels and hundreds waited eight to 10 hours aboard several planes stuck on tarmacs.
The problems were still widespread on Tuesday:
- 423 flights were canceled at Newark Airport on Tuesday, 281 at JFK and 100 at LaGuardia. All airlines were trying to rebook thousands of travelers stranded since at least Sunday.
- Subway and bus service during the morning commute saw delays or route changes on many lines. Northern New Jersey bus commuters also saw delays.
- Amtrak had limited service to Boston and Washington, D.C. The Long Island Rail Road saw multiple route suspensions.
Residents outside Manhattan complained of a sluggish response by snow plow crews who still hadn't finished clearing the streets.
"Send in the Plows!" was the headline on nbcnewyork.com on Tuesday morning.
"I don't think they were prepared," April Cuthbert, a materials manager at Brooklyn Hospital, said from the Fort Greene neighborhood, where stretches of sidewalk remained unshoveled, forcing people to walk in the street. "Manhattan, that's a money place. They make money in Manhattan," she added, explaining why her neighborhood was still snowed under.
State Sen. Carl Kruger, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, called the city's response a "colossal failure."
Fire officials said the unplowed streets and abandoned cars made it harder to respond to emergencies, including a five-alarm, wind-whipped blaze at a Queens apartment building Monday night.
"I'm furious at Mayor Bloomberg, he's a rich man, so he doesn't care about the little people," livery driver Julio Carpio, speaking in Spanish, said Monday. "I have to work, why aren't people out there plowing? Why does the mayor always go on TV the night before to say, 'We're all set with a fleet of salt trucks,' and then you never see a single truck? They always abandon Queens."Video: Time-lapse video captures blizzard’s wrath (on this page)
Signs of 'On time' at airports
Air travel in the nation's busiest, most crowded airspace nearly shut down completely after the storm socked the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow on a holiday weekend when Americans all seemed to be traveling or just unprepared.
Flights slowly resumed at the airports, although experts said it would likely take several more days to rebook all the displaced passengers.
- Flights resume at New York airports
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- Blizzard condensed into 40 seconds
- 400 endure a nightmare on the A train
- New Yorkers upset about unplowed streets
- Holiday travelers face days-long headache
- A chilly end to the holiday shopping season
- Your images, tales of East Coast snow
The words "On time" lit up at least half the departure boards early Tuesday at LaGuardia, where passengers stretched out sleeping under blankets along the windowsill of a food court.
The storm was New York City's sixth-worst since record-keeping began in 1869, said Adrienne Leptich, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. A Feb. 11-12, 2006, storm dropped 26.9 inches of snow on Central Park, breaking the previous record, set in 1947, by half an inch. The storm that hit the city Sunday left 20 inches of snow in Central Park.Story: Your images of East Coast blizzard
Another rare characteristic of the storm was thundersnow in New York City — a weather occurrence that combines lightening, thunder and snow, according to nbcnewyork.com. The city hadn't experienced the phenomenon in decades, the report said.
The storm was sprawling and fickle, dropping 29 inches on Staten Island; 32 inches on Rahway, N.J.; about 12 inches on Philadelphia; and 19 inches in South Boston, according to the Weather Service.
A tractor-trailer skidded off a road and smashed into a house in Maine. A woman went into labor on a New Jersey highway, causing a traffic jam that stranded 30 vehicles. Rails on the normally reliable New York subway shorted out. Winds topping 65 mph ripped power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark across New England.
Little problems quickly snowballed: On New Jersey's Garden State Parkway, a motorist struggled to find the shoulder of the road after his wife went into labor, causing a traffic jam that eventually stranded 30 vehicles, state trooper Chris Menello said.
Christopher Mullen returned from sunny Cancun, Mexico, to find his car buried in the snow in long-term parking at JFK Airport. After trying to dig it out and getting soaked in the process, he finally gave up and took the subway — which promptly broke down.
Mullen and his girlfriend spent eight hours in a freezing subway car, shivering under a thin blanket.Video: Southern states shudder in bitter cold (on this page)
The storm spared no one, not even men who travel on ice for a living. A bus carrying the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team got stuck in the blizzard for four hours while trying to return to their hotel after a game against the New Jersey Devils. And, members of the U.S. luge team lost two days of training after they were stranded on their way to Koenigssee, Germany.
In Philadelphia, pedestrians dodged chunks of ice blown off skyscrapers.
Across the region, the storm's aftermath was punctuated by surreal moments, like the sight of Adrian Traylor, 29, roaming the Newark airport terminal in a Scottish kilt and bare legs as subfreezing winds howled outside.
Traylor, who lives in Scotland, was on his way to visit relatives in Las Vegas and said he wore the kilt to impress his family.
"I didn't think I'd be wearing it this long," he said.
The Associated Press, NBC News and Reuters contributed to this report.