December 28, 2010 9:55:17 am
Thousands of travellers,including Indian-Americans,were stranded at airports across the US as a fierce snow storm lashed towns and cities,leaving a large number of people in the country without power in the freezing cold.
Travel plans of a large number of Indian-Americans,who wished to go back home during the holiday season,were affected as many flights had been cancelled from key airport hubs like New York and Newark.
More than 50,000 flights had been cancelled in the past few days,with six States declaring a state of emergency and more than half of America was reportedly under snow cover.
Even as the John F Kennedy Airport reopened yesterday after a few days of shutdown,officials said it would take days before the backlog is cleared.
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“Business class,first class,everyone was on the floor all night,” Mumbai-bound Queens resident Natalie Mohanty told ‘The Wall Street Journal’.
After she spent the night on the floor at JFK airport,her airline finally bused her to a room at the Holiday Inn in Maspeth in New York.
Besides the JFK,other airports in the region that were hit by the blizzard were Newark,Buffalo,Boston and Philadelphia.
More than 1,700 overseas travellers,including many India-bound,were stranded at the Chicago airport last evening.
Authorities said the airport is making special arrangements to help passengers rushing to make connections avoid delays.
More than 500 flight were cancelled yesterday in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport,which flies several flights a day to various Indian cities.
The disruption is mainly due to the massive three-day snow storm that buried major parts of the East Coast. In Elizabeth,New Jersey residents were digging out 31.8 inches of snow.
A state of emergency was declared in New Jersey,which has a sizeable population of Indian-Americans.
The New York Times reported that it was New York City’s sixth largest snowfall,accompanied by winds that gusted over 65 miles an hour.
However,the biggest snow accumulations in the area were in New Jersey,with 32 inches in Rahway,31.8 inches in Elizabeth; a neighbourhood that houses a significant number of Indian-Americans.
Boston was another major American city to be badly hit by the blizzard.
Tens of thousands of people remained without power as the storm dumped 18.2 inches of snow in Boston.
“Travellers were stranded from San Francisco to Syracuse,NY,because flights to and from the East Coast were cancelled and airlines weren’t able to find seats for them on future flights,which were already booked solid ahead of New Year’s weekend. Some fliers could face days-long waits for seats,” The Wall Street Journal said.
The New York Times said roads remained glazed and city streets choked with snow. Subways and buses ran sporadically and power was still out for thousands.
Business was bad and there were grim tales of people snowbound for hours in cars,buses and trains.
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