NYC under travel ban from deadly East Coast snowstorm


635891506184252734-AFP-548160048New York City and Long Island were under a travel ban Saturday, including all transit from New Jersey bridges and tunnels into and out of the city as a deadly blizzard left major cities, roadways and airports along the East Coast largely immobilized.

More than 60 million people were under blizzard, winter storm or freezing rain warnings as the storm’s effects stretched from Georgia to Massachusetts, according to Weather.com Some 250,000 customers were without power as the storm roared up the East Coast, according to the Weather Channel.

The storm officially achieved blizzard status late Saturday in Washington, D.C., the National Weather Service said.

At least 17 people died in storm-related crashes in Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia, the Associated Press reported. In Fort Washington, Md., one man died of an apparent heart attack while shoveling snow.

Eleven states from Georgia to New York declared states of emergency.

Air traffic ground to a halt across much of East Coast, with more than 9,500 flights canceled nationwide by Saturday afternoon. Underscoring the severity of the storm, all flights were halted Saturday at four of the nation’s busiest airports: Philadelphia, Washington Dulles, Washington Reagan National and Baltimore/Washington International.

Public transportation in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., was also shut down as local officials called on residents to hunker down and stay off the streets for a second day.

“This event has all the makings of a multi-billion-dollar economic cost,” said meteorologist Steven Bowen of Aon Benfield, a London-based global reinsurance firm.

“When combining the actual physical damage to residential and commercial properties, plus automobiles and infrastructure, and adding business interruption losses, we’re potentially looking at one of the costlier winter storm events in recent memory,” he said.

By way of comparison, he said the Blizzard of 1996, which had a similar size and scope to this event, had a $4.6 billion economic cost (in 2016 dollars). “Obviously no two events are identical, but this provides some context as to how costly these storms can be.”

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