Source Pravda.Ru

Winter storm moves eastwards blocking traffic and JetBlue's flights

A winter storm that knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the Midwest moved into the East on Monday, with snow, sleet and freezing rain slowing travel and tying up airlines.

Crews scrambled to clear the roads and hundreds of flights were canceled including at least 68 for JetBlue, whose flight schedule and reputation also were severely battered by a storm two weeks ago.

At least one planeload of JetBlue passengers waited on the tarmac for nearly three hours at New York's Kennedy Airport early Monday before the plane unable to take off because of the weather returned to the gate. All 100 passengers would receive $100 (EUR75) vouchers in line with customers' bill of rights which was introduced recently after the previous storm's troubles, the airline said.

With memories still fresh of the ice that had stopped flights across the region and stranded dozens of drivers on one Pennsylvania highway, officials across much of the region were relieved Monday to see snow instead.

The Midwest appeared to have taken the brunt of the latest storm, getting up to 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow, with more expected in some areas Monday. Nine traffic deaths were blamed on the storm: eight in Wisconsin and one in Kansas.

Heavy ice brought down power lines and utility poles, mostly in Iowa, where nearly 250,000 customers were without electricity Sunday night. Close to 80,000 were without power in Illinois.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain led airlines to cancel hundreds of flights Sunday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and dozens more at Midway Airport, said Wendy Abrams, spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation. That was on top of cancellations Saturday. Abrams estimated that about 1,000 stranded passengers spent the night at O'Hare, reports AP.

The National Weather Service in Michigan warned of widespread snow, strong wind and near- blizzard conditions in parts of the state, with up to a foot (30 centimeters) of snow.

New York City sanitation workers were preparing for up to 7 inches (17 centimeters) of snow. Some 2,000 plows and the sanitation department's 365 salt spreaders were ready to clear streets and roads citywide, authorities said.

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