A mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds that set single-day snowfall records in Washington and New York City and caused some two-dozen deaths, gave way Sunday to brilliant sunshine and gently rising temperatures, enabling millions to dig out and enjoy the winter.
New York and Baltimore began lifting travel restrictions and hearty souls ventured out on snow-choked streets Sunday, while mass transit systems up and down the coast gradually restored service.
Air travel remained messy with 3,929 flights canceled Sunday and airlines already cutting Monday service, according to FlightAware. United Airlines said limited service might begin later in the afternoon in New York City, and Baltimore-Washington International Airport expected some arrivals late in the day. Reagan National and Dulles International Airports in Virginia said they will each have one runway open for limited flight operations beginning Monday. More than 12,000 flights have been canceled since Friday evening.
Federal and local government offices in D.C., and state offices in Maryland and Virginia will be closed Monday, as crews continue their cleanup efforts from the blizzard.
At least 30 people have died as a result of the snowstorm, including in car accidents, from carbon monoxide poisoning, and from suffering heart attacks while shoveling snow. A Pennsylvania man and a New Jersey mom and her year-old son died of carbon monoxide poisoning while sitting in running cars. In Greenville, South Carolina, an elderly couple that had lost power during the storm on Friday night and set up a generator in their garage, has been found dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Three people in New York City, a Virginia man, and two Maryland residents, including a U.S. Capitol police officer, died while shoveling snow. A Pennsylvania man's death Saturday was confirmed to be from "weather-related conditions," according to the Lehigh County Coroner's Office. A teenager sledding behind an all-terrain vehicle was hit by a truck and killed Friday.
Throughout the region, drivers skidded off snowy, icy roads in accidents that killed several people Friday and Saturday. Two people died in Kentucky, one in South Carolina, three in Tennessee, five in Virginia and six in North Carolina, including a man who was shot by an intoxicated driver stuck in the winter storm as he attempted to help him.
A Maryland woman in labor, who had to be taken to a hospital in a fire truck after a responding ambulance got stuck during Saturday's blizzard, gave birth to a baby girl Sunday morning. In Virginia, a 911 dispatcher talked a Stafford County dad through delivery at home, after his baby boy decided he wasn't going to wait for the snow to stop to make his grand arrival.
The storm dropped snow from the Gulf Coast to New England, with areas of Washington surpassing 30 inches after 36-plus hours of snow. The heaviest official report was 42 inches, in Glengary, West Virginia.
Elsewhere, Baltimore broke its all-time snowstorm record with 29.2 inches, while Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, also set a new record with 28.6 inches, according to The Weather Channel.
"This storm will easily rank among the region's 10 worst, and the cleanup is likely to take days," NBC Washington's Storm Team4 said.
As a sign of how much digging out remains to be done around the nation's capital, public schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland, which recorded some of the highest snow totals, including 38.5 inches in North Potomac. Officials also announced that schools were going to be closed in parts of New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia
Central Park got 26.8 inches of snow, the second-most recorded since 1869, and the city's record for a single day. The snowfall narrowly missed tying the previous record of 26.9 inches set in February 2006.
Parts of New Jersey saw more than 2 feet of snow and record storm surges left southern coastal towns underwater. Gov. Chris Christie said minor to moderate flooding occurred during Sunday morning's high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties, but officials said the waters were starting to recede by late Sunday morning.
Flooding in The Wildwoods and neighboring Stone Harbor broke records set during Superstorm Sandy.
A couple in West Wildwood waded through the chest-deep storm surge after several feet of icy bay water flooded their home. First responders struggled to get a military vehicle to them because of debris and a snagged boat.
"I almost didn’t think I was going to make it," Carrie Ensle, 26, said.
Seaside towns in Delaware and Maryland also grappled with flooding.
Metro-North resumed service at 12 p.m. ET Sunday and trains began operating on a normal schedule in and out of Grand Central Terminal by 3 p.m. ET.
Service had been suspended through the morning as Connecticut’s shoreline residents from Fairfield County to Stonington bore the burden of the snowstorm.
Metro-North Railroad, the Long Island Railroad and above-ground New York City subway service shut down at 4 p.m. Saturday. Amtrak modified its schedule in the Northeast and advised travelers to check their trains.
State authorities say a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike where hundreds of vehicles, including buses carrying the Duquesne men's basketball team and the gymnastics squad from Temple University, were stranded during the storm has reopened.
Roofs collapsed on church in Pennsylvania and a historic theater in Virginia. The roof also fell in on a barn in Maryland and 67 people were evacuated from an apartment building in Manassas, Virginia, early Sunday after roofs buckled under the weight of heavy snow.
The Washington Redskins' indoor training facility deflated during the blizzard. The once dome-shaped structure layed flattened under a blanket of snow.
The snow was whipped into a maelstrom by winds that reached 75 mph at Dewey Beach, Delaware, and Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, the weather service said. From Virginia to New York, sustained winds topped 30 mph and gusted to around 50 mph. And if that weren't enough, the storm also had bursts of thunder and lightning.
In New York, Bruce Springsteen canceled his Sunday concert at Madison Square Garden, but Broadway shows were resuming on the Great White Way after going dark at the last minute on Saturday. Museums remained closed in Washington, and the House of Representatives postponed votes until February, citing the storm's impact on travel.
Danielle Abreu contributed to this report.