A blizzard pummeled the northeastern United States on Monday, burying cities in knee-deep snow, leaving thousands camped at airports and snarling traffic with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.
New York City and surrounding areas were the hardest hit by the storm, which swept up the Atlantic Coast on Sunday night and continued up to the Monday morning commute, unleashing powerful winds that gusted up to 59 mph and bringing cities to a halt.
At least a dozen traffic fatalities in several states were attributed to the treacherous road conditions.
Financial markets operated normally although trading volumes were thinned by the storm, which also kept shoppers away from the malls on the day after Christmas, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Authorities shut down New York's three major airports and others in the Northeast for nearly 24 hours, canceling thousands of flights and stranding passengers in terminals that were cut off for hours from trains and taxis, with food and information in short supply.
After a busy day plowing and melting snow with heavy equipment, airport authorities reopened John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia airports to departing and arriving flights.
"Some 4,500 flights have not taken off the past two days and it will take two to three days to take care of those people and get back to some sense of normalcy," Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told NY1 television.
As the storm moved into Canada, the sun broke through on the U.S. East Coast, but massive piles of snow could take days to melt. Temperatures were not expected to climb above freezing for a sustained period until later in the week.
Tens of thousands of homes lost power throughout the Northeast. But true to the refrain that "the show must go on," Broadway shows promised to perform as scheduled on Monday.