DENNIS, Mass. – Snowdrifts 6 feet high kept some Massachusetts residents trapped in their homes and commuters across the Northeast limped back to work on icy roads and packed trains Monday as the region struggled to dig out from a paralyzing weekend blizzard (search).
Massachusetts saw the most snow — a whopping 38 inches in cities north and south of Boston. As much as 21 inches of snow blanketed parts of New Jersey, where the morning commute was crippled by delays of more than an hour.
"We are not happy people," said Colleen Neiman, who was inching her way toward an internship in Manhattan (search). "All the trains are messed up. My train was an hour late. They're not going to be too happy with me at work."
Cities to the south of Boston got heavy, wet snow that turned to ice in single-digit overnight weather, creating problems on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard (search) and Nantucket, where scattered power outages persisted and roads remained unplowed Monday afternoon.
Many residents in the area were stuck at home because towns had abandoned plowing efforts while wind piled the heavy snow into gigantic drifts. People in the coastal town of Scituate south of Boston couldn't get into their homes because of shore flooding that turned to ice.
Bruce MacNayr, 46, was trapped in his home in South Dennis for 24 hours before plows reached him Monday afternoon.
"It's the most snow I've ever seen in my life," MacNayr said. "I've seen a couple of blizzards in my lifetime, but this is the worst."
A state of emergency remained in effect for Massachusetts, but Gov. Mitt Romney ordered state employees to return to work Tuesday after giving nonessential personnel the day off on Monday. Most Rhode Island government workers also got the day off.
After a weekend in which flights were grounded from New England to Chicago, Boston's Logan International Airport reopened Monday after a 30-hour storm shutdown. But then it was hit by an hour-long power outage that shut down elevators and escalators.
School closings were reported Monday from Virginia to Maine.
About 20 deaths were believed linked to the weather, including two in Massachusetts. In New York City, witnesses told authorities a 10-year-old girl playing in the snow was struck and killed by a snowplow. Authorities are investigating.
On Cape Cod, the main route was reopened but many other major roads in the area had been opened only to a single lane between mounds of snow; many secondary roads remained impassable.
"The snow is so heavy, plows can't push it," said George Luna, who was using a front-end loader to dig out a shopping plaza parking lot in the Cape Cod town of Dennis.
Parts of New Hampshire got 2 feet, and New York's Catskills collected at least 20 inches. Earlier, the weather system had piled a foot of snow across parts of the Midwest.
It was the second major storm of the season for Cape Cod, following a December storm that dumped 18 inches of snow and left many residents without power for days.
Joe Mazzeo of Rahway, N.J., was trying to get to New York for a business lunch meeting, but the train ride was a slow one.
"I'll get there God-knows-when," he said. "When you get 20 inches of snow, this is what happens. It's not fun."