Tri-State Digs Out From Blizzard That Left At Least 17 Dead

Tri-state residents on Monday fought unplowed streets and massive snow mounds along with mass-transit delays left in the wake of the historic blizzard that dumped nearly 3 feet of powder on parts of the region and left at least 17 people dead. 

Snow cleanup continues to mixed reviews across the tri-state, and officials are cautioning drivers to watch out for black ice as temperatures through the week are expected to melt the snow during the day, then drop at night to re-freeze it. A black ice advisory has been issued in New York City through Friday night. 

Transit issues persisted into the evening rush Monday, with several LIRR lines still offline after most rail and subway service were suspended over the weekend. The MTA says the rail should be fully restored systemwide for the Tuesday morning rush. 

The region's three airports were open, but travelers still had to fight with delays and cancellations as airlines were continuing to clear a backlog of more than 12,000 flights that had been canceled nationwide over the weekend. It created an especially severe backup at LaGuardia Airport, where road traffic was gridlocked into the night, with people waiting up to two hours to get into or out of the airport. 

The death toll from the blizzard, meanwhile, inched up in the tri-state Monday for a total of at least 17 so far. One death in Brooklyn was suspected to be related to carbon monoxide poisoning from a warming car. The victim, 44-year-old Angel Ginel of Brooklyn, was found in his car after his wife called 911 when he didn't return home from shoveling. 

His death may be similar in nature to those of a New Jersey mother and child who died over the weekend from carbon monoxide poisoning as they sat in a car the child's father was digging out, authorities said. 

And in Mahwah, New Jersey, police were also investigating the death of a 64-year-old woman found partially covered in about a foot and a half of snow, shovel in hand, outside her home on Sunnyside Road Monday afternoon.

Authorities said the body of the woman, identified as Mary Wall, was discovered by a group of middle-aged school children when they saw a coat sticking out from the snow. Police believe Wall had a medical emergency while shoveling out her car. 

Most of the other local storm deaths were also related to snow shoveling, 

The storm dropped a jaw-dropping 26.8 inches of snow on Central Park -- just one-tenth of an inch away from the all-time highest snowfall -- and the 26.6 that fell Saturday was enough to mark the heaviest single day of snowfall since recordkeeping began in 1869.

Other areas of the city saw even more; Jackson Heights, Queens, saw the region's highest snowfall total with a whopping 34 inches while large swaths of New Jersey and Long Island saw totals approaching the 30-inch mark. 

But conditions are continuing to improve. Plows have been seen through most of the region clearing of streets slowly but surely, and just one New York City teacher called out Monday morning. 

Many residents in large swaths of Queens, however, woke up to streets that had been untouched by the city's fleet of plows. Mayor de Blasio said Sunday in an exclusive interview with NBC 4 New York that it amounted to "two realities" for the borough as he vowed to have the city work harder on clearing out the streets in the city's most diverse borough. 

Monday morning, residents were still fuming over unplowed streets that were so hard to navigate even plows got stuck

“They should have made a couple of passes and it would have never got to this point,” one Corona man said.

Mayor de Blasio acknowledged Monday that there hasn't been enough progress with plowing strets: "I want more." 

When pointed out that one street in Elmhurst was untouched since the snow stopped, de Blasio said, "That's not acceptable to me. During the storm is one thing. The day after, every street should have been touched."

As plow work continued, de Blasio reminded drivers in the city that they didn't have to move their cars until Feb. 1 and pleaded that if they had to drive, not to put snow that had piled up around their vehicles back into the streets. 

Black ice and snowy choke points remained a threat to drivers Monday, and officials have warned residents to refrain from any unnecessary driving. Numerous roads remained impassable, from the city to surrounding suburbs, and commuter trains will be delayed or canceled for many despite crews working around the clock to clear tracks and roads.

Here's a breakdown of current conditions:




  • Some roads remain treacherous. Motorists are advised to use caution when traversing the region.
  • Plows are still out. Kathryn Garcia, New York City's sanitation commissioner, tells NBC 4 New York that plows headed out at 5 a.m. Saturday, with 15,000 tons of salt on hand. Check here to see when a location was plowed.
  • Alternate side parking in New York City is suspended through Feb. 1. The city is also allowing cars currently parked next to schools in "No Standing - School Hours" zones to stay parked until Feb 1.
  • Jersey City officials say alternate side parking is suspended Monday and is asking residents to move their car from snow routes to allow for snow removal through Thursday, or else they'll be subject to ticket and tow. Residents may park their cars in the lots of Dickinson High School and PS 11 overnight beginning at 5 p.m. Monday through 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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