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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 04:51 GMT
Record-breaking snowstorm hits US
New Yorkers on skies make their way through the snow in Time Square
New Yorkers donned skis to get around the city
A huge winter storm has brought chaos to the north-east of the US, dumping record-breaking levels of snow.

Airports in Washington and New York were closed and road travel disrupted as much of the region was covered by some two feet or more of snow.

The US National Weather Service called it "a dangerous and life-threatening situation" and warned against travel.

Some who did venture out were rewarded with the memorable sight of New Yorkers skiing down Broadway and other streets.

More than 2,000 flights were cancelled in the region on Sunday and thousands of people in the states of Maryland and New Jersey were left without power.

We boarded our flight from JFK to Manchester at 2200. Eight hours later we arrived back in the terminal, after travelling 50 yards
Malcolm Hepworth, New York, USA

Winds gusting as high as 60mph blew the snow sideways and raised the risk of coastal flooding in New England.

Weather experts are saying that this is the worst winter storm to pass through the region in decades.

"For your safety, remain indoors," the Weather Service warned on its website.

'Much friendlier'

Some 68.3 cm (26.9 inches) of snow lay in New York's Central Park by 1600 (2100 GMT), making it the worst blizzard to hit the city since records began in 1869.

"New York City has just experienced the biggest blizzard in its history," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

The White House
The storm has ended a record-setting balmy winter in Washington

The city's busy La Guardia and John F Kennedy airports, as well as Newark Liberty International in nearby New Jersey were closed for much of the day.

Manhattan was at a virtual standstill with more than 2,500 snow ploughs and salt spreaders at work in the city, along with snow-melting machines that could dispose of up to 60 tonnes of snow per hour, officials said.

However, some were making the most of the freshly powdered snow. In New York's Greenwich Village, Fredda Seidenbaum and Barbara LittleHorse had donned their skis.

"We waited until the wind went down. We wanted to exercise, it's fun, you meet people, everybody is much friendlier when it snows," Ms Seidenbaum was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Earlier, Columbia and Maryland were reporting 53cm (21 inches) of snow, while Philadelphia's northern and western suburbs measured up to 45cm (18 inches).

Whiteout conditions were reported around Philadelphia and Trenton, NJ, with northerly wind gusting to 40 mph (64 km/h).

The storm follows an unusually mild January.

See New York brought to a halt under a blanket of snow

North Americans grapple with snow
25 Jan 05 |  Americas
Blizzards blanket north-east US
23 Jan 05 |  Americas
US struggles to clear snow
19 Feb 03 |  Americas

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