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National

Mid-Atlantic Winter Storm Blizzard Update

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The snow has stopped falling, and New Yorkers who had been under a travel ban are now being allowed back on the streets. What they'll find is a whole lot of snow.

That's true for everyone from Tennessee to Massachusetts. On the Jersey shore, several feet of icy water flooded into the streets of Atlantic City and neighboring towns. Michael Lerro is the manager of the Bolero Resort in the Wildwoods.

MICHAEL LERRO: You're actually seeing waves forming in some of the roads here. That's how deep the flooding has become, specifically on Park Boulevard. It is substantial. There's debris floating everywhere. We have some serious damage to a lot of the structures in town. Our neighbor's roof landed in our parking lot. Some signs came down - some heavy-duty signs are down throughout the town.

MARTIN: Joining us now with more on this record-breaking storm is NPR's Joel Rose on the line from northern New Jersey. He joins us from outside in the elements. Right, Joel?

How much snow are you looking at right now?

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Hi, Rachel. Well, the snow out here is up to about my knee, I would say, so maybe two feet, maybe a little bit more. I can see some of my brave neighbors are already out operating their shovels this morning (laughter).

MARTIN: Yeah.

ROSE: Let me give you some more numbers. The preliminary total was 26.9 inches in Central Park in Manhattan. That was just short of the all-time record. In Baltimore, the Baltimore-Washington airport got even more snow - 29 inches, which would be the record if that preliminary total holds up. Even bigger totals as you look west at central Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia - some spots got as much as 40 inches of snow.

MARTIN: What other effects of the storm happened? I mean, there were all kinds of concerns about power outages. Did that transpire?

ROSE: Yes. We saw power outages all over the place. Hundreds of thousands of people lost power at the height of the storm. At least 18 fatalities are being blamed on the storm. And there was pretty serious coastal flooding on the South Jersey shore, as we heard a moment ago.

MARTIN: What about transportation?

ROSE: Well, the travel ban has been lifted this morning in downstate New York, as you mentioned. Bridges and tunnels across the Hudson River into New York City are open, but that does not mean it will be easy to get around because, of course, there's still lots of snow on the ground.

MARTIN: Yeah.

ROSE: The airports here are technically open, but airlines have cancelled basically all flights yesterday into Philadelphia and Washington and the New York area. Authorities say there will be a limited number of flights leaving today from the New York airports. But it's going to be a long time before we see them get back to normal operations. And that means that thousands of people who are stranded by the storm, it may take them, you know, a few more days to get to where they're going.

MARTIN: And everyone on the East Coast is wondering if people are going to be able to go to work and school tomorrow.

ROSE: Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, today is the big dig-out, so authorities will be trying to clear out major highways and arterial roads. And they're asking drivers, of course, to stay out of the way, if at all possible, while they do that.

And as far as Monday's commute, you know, that will probably depend a lot on where you live. I suspect that the mass transit in the New York area may be close to a normal schedule by tomorrow morning, but there could very well be lingering effects in other parts of the country for a few days.

MARTIN: I would bet on it.

NPR's Joel Rose. Joel, go help those people who need you to shovel and snow blow, yeah.

ROSE: OK, Rachel. Thanks.

MARTIN: Thanks so much, Joel.

ROSE: Bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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