by Zheng Xiaoning, Wang Fan
NEW YORK, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Residents in U.S. northeastern states on Friday woke up to bone-chilling winds and a heavy blanket of snow, after a powerful winter storm hit the area.
The post-Christmas winter storm has left a destructive trail across most of the U.S. northeast, suspending school classes, causing flights delays and cancellations, affecting in total some 100 million people in 22 states.
In New York, the storm brought gusty winds and two feet of snow overnight, disrupting air travel, snarling ground traffic, and creating tough road conditions for local residents. As of Friday afternoon, the wind speed has reached up to 25 kph blowing plowed snow piling alongside curbs back to sidewalks. The temperature is forecast to plummet as low as minus 16 degrees centigrade late Friday night.
"The best thing that people can do, of course, is to stay safe, stay warm and stay indoors," said Bill de Blasio, New York City's new mayor, at a morning news conference. "I don't want anyone to underestimate how bitterly cold it is, and it will get colder."
One day earlier, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the whole state, shutting down parts of major highways since midnight. As the storm dissipated later in the day, traffic gradually returned to normal.
The Long Island Expressway, which was closed at the border between Nassau County and the Queens borough of New York, was reopened to all traffic Friday morning.
Kennedy International Airport resumed operation after 10 a.m. EST.
Elsewhere, snow also covered Washington D.C., the capital city, where the snowfall started late Thursday afternoon. On Friday, schools were closed, while many government offices also shut down.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and closed state offices on Friday. He urged people to stay alert while driving.
In some areas of Massachusetts, Delaware and Connecticut, which bore the brunt of the storm, several feet of snow and chilly winds well below zero disrupted daily life for local people.
Accidents associated with the storm also cropped up. In Connecticut alone, police have received reports of 224 accidents and 2,719 calls for service by Friday morning. In Delaware, winter storm warnings remain in effect statewide on Friday.