Spring snow storm pounds US Northeast

New York: A fourth snow storm in three weeks slammed the US Northeast on Wednesday, cancelling flights, closing schools and shutting federal offices on the second day of spring.
Winter Storm Toby dumped seven inches of snow on New York, the US financial capital, by 8 pm (0000 GMT Thursday), significantly less than originally forecast with the storm to taper off overnight.
It remained unclear if the storm, which had been expected to pummel parts of New York with more than a foot of snow, would exceed the springtime blizzard that brought 10 inches in April 1915.
The National Weather Service warned against wind guests of 64 kilometres per hour), with power outages and downed trees possible in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Predictions of heavy snow saw New York’s state governor, up for re-election, declare a state of emergency in and around the city.
But more than 4,400 flights within, into or out of the United States were cancelled, including a majority at Newark and LaGuardia, two of New York’s three area airports, and half at John F Kennedy International and Philadelphia.
Forty per cent of flights were cancelled at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, the FlightAware website added. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged employers to let staff go home early with the snow expected to quickly accumulate after 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) and reach “blizzard-like conditions.”
In Washington, forecasts of three to eight inches of the white stuff shut schools and federal government offices in the world’s most powerful political capital.
Congress stayed open with lawmakers scrambling to agree on a federal spending bill to stave off a government shutdown.
In New Jersey, the governor also declared a state of emergency and schools closed in Philadelphia. New Jersey Transit, the commuter rail service, discontinued buses. — AFP