- POSTED: 03 Jan 2014 23:33
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A fierce winter storm brought dangerous glacial temperatures and widespread chaos to the north-eastern United States on Friday, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights.
NEW YORK: A fierce winter storm brought dangerous glacial temperatures and widespread chaos to the north-eastern United States on Friday, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights.
With more than 24 inches (61 centimetres) of snow falling in one Massachusetts town, a state of emergency was declared in New York and New Jersey states.
One worker was killed when 100 feet pile of salt being prepared to treat roads around Philadelphia fell on him, media reports said.
The storm, given the name Hercules, closed major roads with snowdrifts built up by Arctic winds of up to 65 miles (105 kilometres) an hour.
Transport disruption was reported from Vermont in the north to Washington DC and fallout from the storm was spreading to southern states.
More than 4,000 international and domestic flights from airports along the east coast had been cancelled by the time the morning rush hour started.
New York's John F Kennedy airport closed for several hours because of poor visibility and high winds. Up to nine inches (22 centimetres) of snow fell in the city.
Officials said the transport toll would worsen during the day as snow continued to fall. Hundreds of flights were also cancelled as far away as Chicago.
Boston woke up to a temperature of about three degrees Fahrenheit (-16 Celsius) but with the wind chill, it felt much worse.
The nearby town of Boxton had recorded 24.3 inches (61.7 centimetres) of snow by early Friday. Deep snow also brought the trouble to Chicago and other parts of the Midwest.
Weather experts said the wind-chill temperature would plummet to -13 Fahrenheit (-25 Celsius) in New York state.
The New York and New Jersey governors ordered major roads closed during the worst of the blizzards but they were reopened on Friday morning.
Government leaders still appealed for people to stay home unless they had urgent business.
"This is nothing to be trifled with," said New York governor Andrew Cuomo. "People should seriously consider staying in their homes."
"These circumstances are dangerous," said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.
The storm was the first big test for New York City's new mayor Bill de Blasio who only took up his job Wednesday.
De Blasio had vowed a "laser focus" on the storm. But the mayor also urged residents to stay indoors and warned there would be delays in public transport.
Tourists lobbed snowballs at each other in Times Square and more than six inches (15 centimetres) of snow fell on Central Park.
But 450 salt spreaders were out across the city and 1,700 refuse trucks had been fitted with plows in a bid to keep New York moving.
Metro trains were cancelled or delayed and many schools and businesses remained closed in all the affected states.
Sub-freezing low temperatures are expected as far south as the Florida panhandle, the National Weather Service said.
Officials warned about the risk of freezing or hypothermia due to the bitter cold that was expected to set in.
Experts say that winds of up to 30 miles per hour could cause frostbite in about 30 minutes.