UPDATE 3-Northeastern US digs out after storm snarls travel

* Major airports reopen but long backlog for flights

* BA plane spends 8 hours on airport tarmac after landing

* New York faces huge snow removal before New Year’s
(Adds quotes, plane stuck on tarmac)

By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK, Dec 28 (BestGrowthStock) – New Yorkers dug out of the
sixth biggest snowstorm on record to hit their city and
thousands of stranded travelers hoped to finally board
long-delayed flights on Tuesday after a blizzard buried the
Northeastern United States the day after Christmas.

The city’s normally bustling streets were largely empty,
many still unplowed, and crippled commuter rail service
struggled to resume regular operations after the storm dumped
20 inches (50 cm) over a 17-hour period on Sunday and Monday.

“At first it was somewhat exciting and pretty cool to see
this much snow, being from Texas, but by the second day it
became pretty frustrating. The sidewalks were a mess,” said
tourist Will Robinson, 24.

Financial markets were operating normally but Monday’s
trading volume of 2 billion shares on the New York Stock
Exchange marked the lightest day of the year. [.N]

Boston, Philadelphia and other cities on the Atlantic Coast
also got pummeled with similar snowfall and crept back to life
after an extended holiday hiatus when garbage went uncollected,
offices stayed shut and shoppers stayed home on what normally
is one of the busiest retail days of the year.

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Full coverage of the storm [ID:nN27263596]

Breakingviews commentary [ID:nN2797611]

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With 4,500 flights canceled or delayed on Sunday and Monday
in New York’s three major airports alone, tens of thousands of
passengers camped out in terminals. Airlines could need another
day or two to work through the backlog, officials said.

A British Airways (BAY.L: ) jet was left for nearly eight
hours on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport
after landing on a flight from London on Tuesday. The airline
blamed gate congestion and a lack of immigration and customs
personnel.

“After 2 hrs in security, only 4 staff with 500+
passengers, luggage is still on the plane! But its good to be
back!” passenger Matthew Bishop, the New York bureau chief for
The Economist, said on Twitter.

In Philadelphia, 305 stranded passengers spent Monday night
at the airport, down from 1,215 on Sunday night, an airport
spokeswoman said. Commuter rail was seeing delays of up to 30
minutes while bus and trolley services were on or close to
schedule, a transit authority spokeswoman said.

In Boston, tens of thousands of customers were left without
power after 18.2 inches (46 cm) of snow fell, 10th most since
the National Weather Service started keeping records in 1892.
The city lifted its snow emergency on Monday evening and public
transit operated with only minor hitches on Tuesday.

A chairlift derailed at the Sugarloaf Mountain ski resort
in Maine on Tuesday, injuring about eight people, the resort
said in a statement. The resort, on the second highest mountain
in Maine, was experiencing wind gusts of up to 39 miles (63 km)
per hour and temperatures around 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus
11 Celsius).

CITY’S RESPONSE CRITICIZED

The 20.0 inches (50.8 cm) of snow that fell on Central Park
marked the sixth largest New York City snowfall since records
have been kept, a National Weather Service spokeswoman said. Up
to 32 inches (81 cm) fell in New Jersey. Winds reached 65 mph
(105 kph).

The New York record of 26.4 inches (67.1 cm) was set on
Feb. 11-12, 2006.

True to character, New Yorkers complained about storm
relief while the city’s fleet of 2,000 snow-plowing sanitation
trucks struggled to clear the city’s 6,000 miles (9,600 km) of
streets.

After ambulances and city buses got stuck in the snow, and
many neighborhoods in the boroughs outside Manhattan had yet to
see plows, accusations rained in that City Hall failed to
prepare for a blizzard that was forecast days in advance.

“I don’t think they were prepared,” April Cuthbert, a
materials manager at Brooklyn Hospital, said from the Fort
Greene neighborhood, where stretches of sidewalk remained
unshoveled, forcing people to walk in the street. “Manhattan,
that’s a money place. They make money in Manhattan,” she added,
explaining why her neighborhood was still snowed under.

On Monday, a New York subway train got stuck on a frozen
rail with passengers trapped inside for seven hours.

Times Square was mostly cleared in preparation for Friday
night’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Traffic trickled over a thin layer of slush, after the
so-called crossroads of the world had almost no cars on Monday
when snow was piled high.
(Additional reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr. and Edith Honan
in New York, Ros Krasny in Boston, Jon Hurdle in Philadelphia
and Kyle Peterson in Chicago; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

UPDATE 3-Northeastern US digs out after storm snarls travel