US Northeast hit by blizzards, cold, after record snow

US Northeast hit by blizzards, cold, after record snow
A woman crosses a road during a winter snowstorm in Somerville, Massachusetts January 24, 2015.

The US Northeast struggled to dig out from the latest in a series of winter storms that made February the snowiest month in Boston's history, while Kentucky and Indiana braced for heavy snow on Sunday night and Monday.

Blizzard conditions forced the cancellation of more than 1,800 US airline flights on Sunday, most of them into and out of airports in Boston and New York, where wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kph) were predicted.

A woman in New Jersey was found frozen to death in the snow near her home on Sunday morning. In the Midwest, snow around Lake Michigan caused a three-dozen-car pileup on a major Chicago expressway, sending 12 people to the hospital for injuries.

Temperatures are 25 to 30 degrees (14 to 17 degrees Celsius) below normal for the East Coast, exacerbated by strong winds, said meteorologist Bruce Sullivan of the National Weather Service.

The temperature at 1 p.m. in Boston was around 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius), but felt like zero (minus 18 Celsius) thanks to wind chill. By Monday morning, it was likely to feel like minus 20 (minus 29 Celsius), the NWS said.

The latest storm heaped disappointment on retailers who were relying on the Presidents' Day weekend and Valentine's Day to make up for subpar sales during the last three lashings of snow.

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 NWS said.

Boston had seen about 6 feet (1.8 meters) of snow since late January and had already set a record for accumulations in a single week. Bitter cold and huge drifts hampered snow removal efforts. "Hopefully, it will stop eventually," Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said on Sunday, pleading with drivers to stay off dangerous roads.

Kentucky, Indiana brace for snow

While the Northeast dug out, Kentucky and southern Indiana were bracing for a storm. "A significant winter storm with snowfall totals potentially in the double digits ... will impact southern Indiana and central Kentucky" Sunday night and Monday, the National Weather Service said, forecasting 10-15 inches across portions of south central Kentucky.

Still, nothing compared with Massachusetts, where 20 inches (50 cm) fell on the coastal town of Ipswich on Sunday and relentless winds were expected to pile up dangerous drifts of the lightweight snow In Boston restaurants sought to coax customers out of hibernation for a meal or drink on Sunday evening, when the snow was expected to let up. One South Boston eatery added the hashtag "#cabinfever" to its Twitter messages. "You don't want to stay penned up all day," said Allie Needham, 26, a business analyst at a chemical company, as she walked along an empty street in Cambridge on her way to meet friends for breakfast.

With all public transportation suspended in Boston on Sunday, Bostonians got creative. In the Back Bay neighborhood, a snowboarder hitched a ride from a snowmobile. One resident on Twitter said it was about time for an entrepreneur to start up a dog sled service.

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.

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