New York, Mar 15: Winter Storm Stella lashed the northeastern US with sleet and snow, cancelling thousands of flights, closing schools and shutting stores, but New York and Washington escaped the worst of the weather.
Blizzard warnings were issued in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York -- with some areas near the New York state capital of Albany forecast to get up to 76 centimeters of snow overnight into Wednesday. But warnings were lifted for New York City, the US financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet and hail.
Workers clear snow outside the West Wing of the White House
Dire forecasts forced the postponement of the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington until Friday, but in the end, snowfall in the US capital was light. The National Weather Service drastically revised down New York City's expected accumulation with 7.2 inches recorded in Central Park, and 10-13 inches in parts of neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.
Two women struggle to walk in the blowing snow in Boston
Instead the trajectory of the storm shifted west and north, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to central parts of New York state and further north.
"The storm is not delivering as much snow as forecasted at all and that is very good for the people of New York City, but the conditions are still very dangerous," Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.
Temperatures were set to dip below freezing overnight, making roads and sidewalks treacherous, and a city-wide state of emergency would remain in place until midnight.
People struggling to walk in the winter storm
While the New York subway and bus services were operating, much of the city remained quiet with schools, shops and businesses largely closed as workers shoveled snow.
A horse and buggy drive through a winter snow storm
New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports and Newark Liberty International Airport were largely shut, with the majority of flights cancelled, and trains heading north towards Boston were also suspended.
(Pics credit - PTI)
Autumn Young, the owner of a soap company, said she had been stranded at Grand Central Station since 6:00 am after her flight to see family in North Carolina and her train home were cancelled.
"I can't even get out of the city. I've missed a whole day of work and meetings," Young told AFP.
"It sucks, it's awful. I am traveling with my service dog -- he can't go on the sidewalk because the salt is bad for his feet."
The United Nations headquarters closed for the day, as did the courts and a string of popular museums, some of the most-visited tourist attractions in the city.