Blizzard causes travel havoc in northeast

Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:05pm EST
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By Daniel Trotta and Ben Berkowitz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Heavy snow and strong winds slammed the northeastern United States on Sunday, canceling hundreds of flights and causing havoc as travelers scurried to return to work after the Christmas holiday.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings along the coast from Maine down to New Jersey with winter storm warnings in effect for nearly the entire East Coast.

The air travel nightmare was made worse when Amtrak canceled passenger rail service between New York and Boston.

The weather service forecast 15 to 25 inches of snowfall in New York City through Sunday night with widespread blowing of snow expected on Monday, when many people will be returning to work after celebrating Christmas.

"Unfortunately our city is directly in the path," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a news conference, saying gale force winds of up to 55 mph were expected.

Some 2,400 sanitation workers were called in to clear snow from the streets, Bloomberg said .

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency as much of New England braced for up to 20 inches of snowfall.

In one sign of the severity of the storm, an NFL football game scheduled for Philadelphia was postponed, forcing the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings to reschedule their game for Tuesday.   Continued...

<p>A restaurant employee shovels a snow covered sidewalk in Hoboken, New Jersey, December 26, 2010. Up to a foot of snow is expected to fall in the New York area on Sunday and Monday as a storm moves through the East Coast of the U.S. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>