Broadway’s back, travel bans lifted after major storm

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-24 18:40:49-05

(AP) — Broadway turned the stage lights back on, rail service was expected to resume in New York and Washington, D.C., and emergency travel bans were lifted Sunday following a historic snowstorm that dumped two feet or more in some areas this weekend.

A portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike where more than 500 cars, trucks and buses had been stranded also reopened by late afternoon. Tens of millions of people, meanwhile, have watched a video of one of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s four pandas enjoying the snow.

A look at the storm’s impact by state:


Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has lifted a driving ban he had imposed as a winter storm brought blizzard conditions to the mid-Atlantic region. The ban was lifted at 10 a.m. Sunday, but Markell said a state of emergency remains in effect. He urged residents to stay off the road unless they have a compelling reason to drive, so that snow plows could continue working without interference. With the passage of the storm, hazardous weather warnings have been lifted, but a coastal flood advisory was in effect for New Castle County until 1 p.m. Sunday, with minor flooding possible at high tide. Meanwhile, Markell planned to take an aerial view by helicopter Sunday afternoon of southern Delaware areas that were affected by coastal flooding during the storm.


Northeast Georgia began thawing out Sunday after getting blanketed with 8 inches of snow, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Leary. The snow hadn’t completely disappeared, however, because temperatures were still close to freezing, he said. Across the state, 945 customers were still without power Sunday, according to Georgia Power spokeswoman Ashley Stukes. The bulk of the outages were in the northeast part of the state due to constant snowfall and freezing rain. Since the storm began early Friday, crews have restored power to more than 125,000 customers statewide, Stukes said.


In Baltimore, the Emergency Operations Center was abuzz Sunday afternoon as representatives from more than a half-dozen city agencies worked together to get the city moving again after a winter storm dumped more than 29 inches of snow. There were no deaths in Baltimore as a result of the storm, however, said Bob Maloney, director of the city’s office of emergency management.

A travel ban in Baltimore and along a 34.7-mile stretch of interstates has been lifted, but officials still urged residents to not venture out onto the roads if not necessary. Maryland Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ed McDonough said I-270 and I-70 from I-81 in Washington County to the Baltimore Beltway had reopened as of 7 a.m. Sunday.

In western Maryland, meanwhile, a barn roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow Saturday morning in the unincorporated community of Ijamsville, killing some of the several dozen beef cattle that had been herded inside to ride out the storm, said cattle owner Douglas Fink. Fink said he wasn’t sure how many had died. He said most of the cattle escaped before the collapse, but he hasn’t been able to count them because they’re huddling close together.


Most major highways in New Jersey had been cleared by early Sunday, including the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. Nonetheless, reduced speed limits were in place on most of those roadways, and drivers were being urged to use extra caution and to avoid travel if possible. Officials say roads should be in good shape for the Monday morning commute. Residents in southern New Jersey’s coastal towns continue to deal with flooding caused by the weekend’s major snowstorm. Minor to moderate flooding occurred during Sunday morning’s high tides, mostly in Atlantic and Cape May counties, Gov. Chris Christie said. Officials said the waters were starting to recede by late Sunday morning. No major damage from the flooding was reported, and only some residents were displaced.


All rail service in and out of New York’s Grand Central Terminal was expected to resume Sunday afternoon after a record-setting blizzard hammered the city. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says service on the Metro-North lines at outlying terminals in New York and Connecticut was scheduled to begin after noon. Service on the Long Island Rail Road remained suspended. The MTA says the goal is to bring back service for the Monday morning commute.

All Broadway shows — both matinees and evening performances — were given the green light to go on as normal Sunday after New York state officials lifted their travel ban. Bruce Springsteen postponed a show set for Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

More than 25 inches of snow fell in Central Park — the third-largest snowfall since record-keeping began in 1869, police and weather officials said.


About 30,000 customers in North Carolina remained without power Sunday afternoon after the sun warmed the state hit by the first wave of the massive winter storm. Duke Energy reported that nearly two-thirds of the affected customers were in the county surrounding Raleigh and a county to the southeast. Forecasters said some of the accumulation thawed Sunday afternoon as temperatures stayed above freezing for several hours. But overnight, temperatures will dip back below freezing in many areas. In North Carolina, a man was charged with killing a motorist who stopped to help after the suspect’s car slid off an ice-covered road. Jail records show 27-year-old Marvin Jacob Lee of Claremont was at the Catawba County jail Sunday on a murder charge. Sheriff Coy Reid said Lee was stuck in the snow when a truck with three men stopped to help late Friday afternoon. Reid said Lee became agitated and the men called police to come help Lee, who then started shooting.


State authorities say a section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Pittsburgh where hundreds of vehicles were stranded during the massive winter storm has reopened in both directions. Turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo says both eastbound and westbound lanes at the scene in Somerset County reopened Sunday afternoon.

More than 500 cars, trucks and buses got stuck in a miles-long backup Friday night after tractor-trailers jackknifed as they tried to climb through the mountains toward the Allegheny tunnels. Emergency workers distributed food, water and fuel to some of those trapped. Officials said 216 people stayed in a Bedford County shelter Saturday night and 200 more stayed in local hotels. Turnpike officials are vowing an extensive review of the situation.

In suburban Philadelphia, the roof of a church caved in during Saturday’s blizzard, causing substantial damage and sending the pastor scrambling to get a video feed in place from his home in time for Sunday services. Pastor Lee Wiggins said the roof collapse caused more than $1 million in damage to the 1,100-seat auditorium at Calvary Fellowship Church in Downingtown, about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. He says it’ll take about six months to repair.


Firefighters evacuated tenants from 24 apartments in two northern Virginia apartment buildings after one partially collapsed and the other showed signs of weakening early Sunday, Prince William County officials said. They said the cause of the collapse appeared to be snowfall of approximately 28 inches during the past 36 hours in Manassas. No residents were hurt. One firefighter suffered a cut to the face, and about 65 people were displaced. The county says arrangements are being made to shelter them. A man was killed on Saturday in a single-vehicle crash in Virginia Beach that police blamed on speed and icy road conditions, and Virginia Tech filmmaker Jerry Scheeler died Friday while shoveling snow outside his new house in Daleville, local news media reported Sunday. On Saturday, the state medical examiner’s office confirmed three other storm deaths. Snow, ice and gusting winds made the roof collapse at a Donk’s Theater, a historic venue near the Chesapeake Bay, building officials said. The theater opened in 1947 and was known as Home of Virginia’s Lil’ Ole Opry.


Transportation crews in the nation’s capital were hoping to make major roads passable Sunday and also to tackle secondary roads, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said. Metro officials, meanwhile, said in a statement Sunday that they plan to resume limited rail and bus service on Monday morning and that rides will be free.

Bowser said the city’s public schools, attended by nearly 49,000 students, would be closed Monday. She said officials were still assessing whether city government offices would open.

The federal government closed its offices at noon Friday, and it wasn’t immediately clear what the plans were for Monday. President Barack Obama, hunkered down at the White House, was one of many who stayed home. But a video of one of the Smithsonian National Zoo’s four pandas enjoying the snow there was a bright spot amid the storm clouds, drawing tens of millions of views on Facebook as of Sunday.

As a sign of how much work there was left to do to dig out the Washington area, the public school system in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland, announced Sunday afternoon that classes would be canceled for Monday and Tuesday. The county saw the highest snow totals in the national capital area, with 38.5 inches in North Potomac.


The massive blizzard that dumped several feet of snow in parts of West Virginia has been a blessing for the state’s ski industry. Nearly 90 percent of the trails are open at three ski areas, with a snow base ranging from 2 feet to more than 3 feet. The resorts were reporting strong business Sunday, with downhill skiers and snowboarders flocking to the slopes. Excellent conditions were also reported for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.