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US blizzard: NY lifts travel ban

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A travel ban on cars in New York City has ended as the east coast of the US begins digging out from the weekend's massive snowstorm.

But in Washington DC, the metro is set to remain closed and air travel in the region faces further disruption.

As householders dug themselves out of drifts up to 40.5in (103cm) deep, the hazards of shovelling snow were brought home by at least six deaths.

A further 12 people have died in other snow-related incidents since Friday.
The storm, dubbed Snowmageddon and Snowzilla on social media, is lessening and heading for the Atlantic Ocean.

It has affected some 85 million people, cutting power to 200,000 people.

Some 7,000 flights were cancelled this weekend and disruption is to continue into the working week, with at least 615 cancelled for Monday.

Many people have taken to streets and parks to enjoy the snow, with a giant snowball fight breaking out on Times Square, New York, overnight.

States of emergency were declared in New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia
In Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, drivers were stranded for hours on snowbound highways.

The heaviest fall was recorded in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, which had 40.5in (103 cm).

By the time the snow had stopped falling late on Saturday, New York's Central Park had received 26.8in, the second-biggest fall recorded since 1869 and just shy of the all-time high, 26.9in, recorded in February 2006.

At least five people in the New York area died while shovelling or removing snow, the New York Times reports. A sixth death was reported in Baltimore, Maryland.

Among other deaths attributed to the storm was that of a man in North Carolina who stopped to help a motorist whose car had veered off an icy road. Police said the Good Samaritan was shot by the man he had gone to help.

In Ohio, a teenager sledding behind an all-terrain vehicle was hit by a lorry and killed.

'This is horrible'
In Montgomery County, Maryland, 288 households have had their power cut, Reuters news agency reports.

"This is horrible," one unnamed resident told the agency. "We got no power. We got no heat. And we got no electricity. It took my son and some neighbours an hour to dig snow out."

The US federal government closed down at noon on Friday. President Barack Obama remains at the White House.

Businesses have been eyeing the shutdown with some anxiety. In New York city, the manager of the midtown Metro Cafe, which remained open, told Reuters news agency: "Last four hours, we don't have any business.

"By now, I guess because we're the only one open around here. I mean it's a big loss no matter how you see it, it still is a big loss. When you lose something you can never make it up. When it's gone, it's gone. That's business."

Source : BBC

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