Video: Snow, ice snarl Conn. traffic

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/18/2011 1:32:15 PM ET 2011-01-18T18:32:15

A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain iced over roads, driveways and sidewalks from Delaware up into New England on Tuesday — making for a slippery and sometimes dangerous morning commute that also saw hundreds of flight cancellations.

"Terrifying" was how Tomoko Takushi, a graphic designer in Philadelphia, described her walk to work on the ice-glazed sidewalks.

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The National Weather Service issued a winter storm advisory until 1 p.m. ET in New York City. The area got 1 to 2 inches of snow and sleet by early morning. It was followed by ice before turning to rain by late morning.

Slightly more accumulations were forecast for parts of northeastern New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester counties and the lower Hudson Valley.

"Travel will be extremely hazardous" for commuters, the weather service said. "Then one- to two-tenths of an inch of ice are expected on top of the snow and sleet," it added.

Speed limits were lowered on highways from Delaware to New Jersey.

Hundreds of schools up and down the East Coast were closed or having delayed starts, including the Washington, D.C. area, eastern New York and southern Vermont.

Below's a look at some of the other weather headaches.

Flights disrupted
Over 400 flights were canceled at New York's three main airports, most of them at Newark Liberty International Airport, where Continental Airlines had halted its flights there because of freezing rain and snow.

New York's LaGuardia Airport reported 1 hour and 35 minute delays on arriving flights in the late morning.

Boston's Logan International Airport was able to keep all of its runways clear and open, but outgoing flights to several other cities affected by the storm were delayed. Delays of up to four hours were reported.

Some 115 passengers were stranded overnight at Philadelphia's airport, a spokeswoman said.

The icy weather delayed and canceled flights at airports in the Baltimore-Washington region.

Dozens of flights at Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport were canceled and a few were delayed. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport also had a few delays and cancellations.

Slushy commutes
Patricia Ricciardi used a tissue to wipe sludge off the cuffs of her slacks in a south Philadelphia subway station as she headed downtown to work at her city job.

"I don't want to go to work looking like I came from a garage instead," she said. "It's disgusting."

Across the Philadelphia area, schools opened late, commuter train and bus services were delayed and state officials placed speed restrictions on six major highways.

New York City streets and sidewalks were also a slushy mess, with pedestrians forced to cross large watery accumulations at street corners, and icy stretches of sidewalks were like Slip n' Slides. Cars passing by intersections threw up gobs of slush onto anyone standing too close to the street.

In White Plains, N.Y., David Cairns tried to keep his dress shoes from getting wet while crossing the street. "This seems a little more like a New York winter," he said. "Ice and slush and cold rain. It beats a blizzard."

Video: Al Roker and The Weather Channel provide storm details (on this page)

Transit mess

Rail service was also affected due to ice. Metro-North Railroad, which serves commuters from Connecticut into New York City, reported up to 40-minute delays on some lines. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, which serves the Philadelphia area, reported delays on its commuter rail service and bus detours.

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New Jersey Transit reported delays on the Northeast Corridor and New Jersey Coast lines. There also were scattered problems reported on some New York subway and bus lines.

Connecticut State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said troopers were flooded with more than 700 calls for help during the morning rush hour, including more than 70 collisions and spin-outs. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

"The problem with every crash is that we had difficulty getting equipment to the crash site due to the volume of traffic and the slippery conditions," Vance said.

Several collisions were reported in the region involving jackknifed tractor-trailers, and a snow plow caught on fire early Tuesday on Interstate 84 in Southington.

The eastern half of New York was expected to get up to 8 inches of snow, along with freezing rain and sleet. Coastal New Hampshire was bracing for power outages as ice was expected to build up on power lines later Tuesday.

New Hampshire could get up to 10 inches of heavy snow, the weather service said. The most serious hours of the storm were expected to hit there late Tuesday and into Wednesday.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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