US snowstorm less severe than forecast

US snowstorm less severe than forecast
A French tourist posing for a photograph while lying on the ground in 7th Ave during the snowstorm in Times Square, New York.

BOSTON/NEW YORK - A blizzard dropped more than 30cm of snow across the north-eastern United States yesterday, falling short of the massive predicted snowfall that prompted officials across the region to close schools and order travel bans.

High winds and heavy snow were set to persist throughout the day, with another 30cm forecast to fall in parts of Boston. Wind-driven seas caused flooding along some low-lying roadways in coastal Massachusetts, state police said.

The heaviest snowfall was recorded in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, while New York City's Central Park saw just 15cm, less than a quarter of the "historic" snowfall that some meteorologists had predicted.

"When you hear the word 'crippling' and you look out your window this morning, it is not there," said John Davitt, a meterologist on New York's NY1 news channel.

Travel was still snarled, with more than 4,500 flights cancelled at US airports, and no trains or buses in New York, Boston or New Jersey.

Forecasts for as much as 90cm of snow had prompted governors in eight East Coast states to declare states of emergency and the storm affected up to 60 million people in nearly a dozen states.

Residents largely obeyed orders to stay off roadways and broadcasters in New York and Boston showed roads largely free of cars early yesterday.

Sustained winds in the area might hit 64kmh, though gusts as high as 126kmh were recorded on the island of Nantucket, off Massachusetts.

Travel bans remained in place on roads in southern New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. "It could be a matter of life and death so caution is required," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters.

In New York's Long Island, the police said that a teenager had died late on Monday when he crashed into a lamp post in the street where he was snow-tubing.

Stuck at home, many turned to social media to give voice to their frustration, adopting such storm-related hashtags as #blizzardof2015, #Snowmageddon2015 and #Snowpocalypse.

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