Snow, sleet, rain, ice, cold: Winter weather closes schools and snarls travel across New York

IndustriesAssociated Press

Overnight snowfall left a slippery, traffic-snarling veil over the New York metropolitan region Monday that caused at least one death while upstate areas dug out from a blanket of snow close to a foot deep in spots.

Winter weather struck the state with a vengeance a week after much of New York dodged the brunt of a powerful blizzard. This time, hundreds of flights were canceled in the city as trains were delayed, driving was dangerous and even the subway struggled with the storm. A No. 7 train in Queens lost power for 2 ½ hours, and a rescue train had to be sent for the stranded passengers.

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"Everyone on the train was in decent spirits, since there was literally nothing we could do about it," passenger Ashley Carr said in an email.

Farther north, fast-falling snow measured 6 inches in Albany by midday Monday and 11 inches in Buffalo. Schools closed across the region and plows struggled to keep up with the deluge. Temperatures barely climbed out of single digits.

"It's challenging," said Lisa Smoczynski, who was working at a Buffalo construction site Monday as heavy snow fell and a stiff wind made the 12-degree temperature seem much lower.

"I've got Under Armour, lined pants, fleece-lined jeans — let's see, one, two, three, four, five layers. Insulated gloves, insulated boots, the heaviest socks available. Under Armour hat. All the joys of life," Smoczynski said.

In the northern suburbs, after 6 to 12 inches of snow, the precipitation kept falling but changed intermittently from snow to sleet to rain. Icy pellets bounced off windshields as motorists slowly made their way along interstates, parkways and local streets in Westchester County. In White Plains, Estelle Windsor of the Bronx was trying to walk several blocks from one indoor shopping mall to another after being told she'd have to wait half an hour for a cab.

"I should have waited," she shouted into a cold wind. "I'm getting this sleet in my eyes. It's like they're shooting BBs at you."

Travel was treacherous statewide with cars and trucks sliding off roads.

State police said at least one person was killed in a multivehicle accident on Interstate 95 in Rye. The accident closed northbound lanes near Exit 22. Separately, three tractor-trailers jackknifed on I-95 and Interstate 87, and one flipped over on the Long Island Expressway.

Temperatures were forecast to fall statewide later Monday. National Weather Service meteorologist John Murray said a flash freeze warning was issued for New York City and Long Island.

"It's going to be very dangerous to travel with these icy conditions," Murray said. "It is recommended that people stay home, but if they must travel, they should proceed extra slowly and use extra caution."

There was a hint of good news for New Yorkers desperate enough to put stock in a groundhog. Staten Island Chuck didn't see his shadow, supposedly auguring an early spring.

The groundhog was kept away from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this year after the rodent who played Chuck last year fell from the mayor's grasp and died a few weeks later.

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Associated Press writers Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, Jim Fitzgerald in White Plains and Frank Eltman in Farmingdale contributed to this report.