NEW YORK – A monstrous blizzard marched through the Northeast on Presidents Day, bombarding the region with frigid, gale-force winds and burying it under as much as 4 feet of snow.
With snowfall tapering off, snowplows scrambled to clear roads in anticipation of a difficult commute for millions of people in the eastern United States.
By early Tuesday, New York City recorded 19.8 inches of snow, Boston's Logan International Airport had 23.6 inches, and Washington Dulles International Airport received 24.2 inches.
Loss of power and hazardous road conditions contributed to at least 28 deaths over the holiday weekend, as the storm charged out of the Plains and up through the Eastern Seaboard.
"It's no man's land out there," said Paul McIntyre, state highway supervisor for Maryland's Garrett County, which received 49 inches of snow. "It looks more like Siberia than Maryland."
Snowdrifts were piled high from the Ohio Valley to New England, mudslides and floods wreaked havoc in the southern Appalachians, and layers of ice snapped trees and power lines.
"It's by far the worst ice storm that we've had in decades. It's a nightmare down here," said Kimberly Carver, director of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency in Ohio. "It's just crippled us."
Weather-related deaths included two in Illinois, one in Nebraska, five in Pennsylvania, six in West Virginia, six in Missouri, one in Ohio, two in Virginia, one in New Jersey and four in Iowa. Among those killed was an 83-year-old Pennsylvania man who sought shelter inside his parked car when his home heating system failed. Officials said he died either of hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning.
For the region as a whole, it was the worst snowstorm since the blizzard of 1996, when at least 80 deaths were blamed on the weather.
Further South, West Virginia's Berkeley County reported 27 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said. The Seven Springs ski resort area in western Pennsylvania had 40 inches.
Berkeley Springs, W.Va., asked the state to send in the National Guard to help residents dig themselves out. Mayor Susan Webster said Berkeley Springs needs "heavy equipment ... and manpower."
"Our concern is not only moving the snow as quickly as possible for the welfare of our citizens, but the real fear of flooding that a melt of this magnitude will bring," Webster said.
Airports serving Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York were largely shut down, stranding thousands of passengers trying to leave and get into the region.
Among the many travelers stranded by the storm, few were as far from home as Lynn Anderson of Belfast, Ireland.
"It's turned into a complete nightmare," said Anderson, who arrived in Philadelphia on Sunday hoping to go to Williamsburg, Va., but had to stay overnight in a downtown Philadelphia hotel.
Road crews were doing all they could to create smooth Tuesday commutes following the long holiday weekend.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged commuters to "chill out" and not get frustrated. "It's going to be a rough commute, but everybody will get there."
Bloomberg estimated the storm had cost his city around $20 million -- about $1 million per inch of snow. Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich said the storm had cost between $20 million and $30 million -- and the state was already $14 million over budget for road cleanup this season.
Plows built piles of snow two stories high along some streets, including Fifth Avenue near the Saks department store in midtown Manhattan, where tourists took pictures of each other standing on the gigantic mounds of snow.
An estimated 100,000 customers lost power in West Virginia, with 20,000 in the Carolinas, 62,000 in Ohio, 96,000 in Kentucky and 6,000 in Virginia.