Blizzard Pummels Northeast, Closes NYC Airports

A blizzard raged up the East Coast Monday, leaving thousands of travelers stranded in airports and bringing highway traffic to a standstill.

The National Weather Service said blizzard warnings would remain in effect for the coastal region from New Jersey to Maine, UPI said. Six states declared states of emergency.

The treacherous storm left New York City buried in knee-deep snow and forced the city’s three major airports to close Sunday night. Thousands of would-be passengers camped in terminals overnight with airport food supplies running low and frustrations running high.

“Here there are maybe 200 folding cots for 1,000 people,” traveler Lance Jay Brown, 67, told Reuters in JFK airport. “I paid $50 for three hot chocolates, a couple of candy bars and two sandwiches, and I was happy to get a sandwich. There are dozens of people twisted out of shape with frustration.”

Newark Liberty International Airport was scheduled to reopen at noon, LaGuardia at 2 p.m. and JFK at 4 p.m.

Southern Massachusetts was also hit with about a foot of snow. Boston’s Logan International Airport remains officially open, but most flights have been canceled, UPI reports.

On Sunday Amtrak suspended rail service between New York and Portland, Maine, but announced that the regular train schedule would resume Monday.

In an opinion piece for Sunday’s New York Times, former NASA scientist Judah Cohen writes that global warming is responsible for cooler winters in the world’s major cities.

Cohen, who is currently the director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, contends that climate change has caused increased moisture — and by extension, increased snowfall — in Siberia. This in turn creates “an unusually large dome of cold air next to the mountains,” magnifying the jet stream of atmospheric waves that pushes cold air south.

“That is why the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinarily snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century,” Cohen asserts. “Most forecasts have failed to predict these colder winters, however, because the primary drivers in their models are the oceans, which have been warming even as winters have grown chillier….The reality is, we’re freezing not in spite of climate change but because of it.”

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