BOSTON – A storm that dumped freezing rain (search) and as much as 18 inches of snow on the East Coast snarled post-holiday travel Monday, stranding hundreds of drivers on slick roads and reducing Boston's Logan Airport to a single, major runway.
Tens of thousands of customers were left without power and at least three traffic deaths were blamed on the weather, one in Massachusetts and two in North Carolina.
The powerful storm had skimmed the East Coast on a northeasterly track starting Sunday, spreading ice and more than 9 inches of snow in North Carolina and 14 inches in Virginia, then walloping New York City before dropping a foot and a half on Massachusetts' Cape Cod.
Dozens of flights in Boston were delayed or canceled, but the runways were back in full operation by midmorning, airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said.
The New England Patriots (search) left their plane parked at Newark, N.J., after Sunday's victory over the New York Jets (search) and took four buses to Boston, arriving early Monday after a seven-hour drive.
Shannon Steele ran out Monday morning and bought a $1,000 snow blower, and tried to stay positive about moving to the Cape Cod town of Dennis from Florida just two weeks ago.
"This is better than hurricanes," said Steele.
Several Cape Cod towns opened temporary shelters after thousands of people lost power. In all, about 22,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts were blacked out, but service was restored to most of them by midmorning, NStar spokesman John Milton said.
The storm's combination of wind, freezing rain and snow snapped tree limbs and power lines Sunday in the Carolinas. About 2,100 customers were still without electricity Monday in North Carolina, down from a peak of 14,000. More than 16,000 homes and businesses were blacked out Sunday in South Carolina, but that number was down to less than 5,000 Monday morning.
Traffic resumed early Monday on Interstate 95 in eastern North Carolina after hundreds of travelers spent the night in hotel lobbies and shelters.
Some sections of I-95 remained covered with ice and crews elsewhere in North Carolina were still working to clear secondary roads, the state Transportation Department said.
"We've had a struggle out there on 95 since last night," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the state Highway Patrol. "It's just slow going out there until they get these ice spots cleared up."
Mike Minior, an environmental engineer from Cape Cod who was delayed at the Boston airport, said he does not fault the airlines, but rather Mother Nature.
"I guess you roll the dice and take a chance," he said.