Blizzard hits Northeast, shuts down NYC


NYDN    (New York Daily News)

MIDNIGHT ET MON: States of Emergency are in place in seven northeastern states from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire as a major winter storm bears down, bringing blizzard conditions and hurricane-strength winds to New York and through New England. About 30 million people are affected.


While forecasts of snowfall amounts and worst-affected areas seemed to be in flux through much of Monday, the worst of the weather is expected to hit in the early hours and through Tuesday afternoon.

Transportation throughout the region is at a virtual standstill after an unprecedented travel ban for non-emergency vehicles. The city that never sleeps is largely shut down, with the New York mass transit system closed at 11pm on Monday night. Announcing the city’s travel restrictions, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio had to clarify that food delivery bicycles “are not emergency vehicles.”

In the final couple of hours before driving would supposedly attract a $300 ticket, both MSNBC and CNN – using something called a Blizzardmobile – decided to drive around New York’s largely deserted streets, creating strangely compelling programming that some viewers likened to performance art or a JJ Abrams movie.

Amtrak said it was suspending service between New York and Boston – the country’s most heavily-travelled rail corridor – on Tuesday.

New York airspace was effectively closed with at least 7,000 flights cancelled through Wednesday, with a hefty knock-on effect to national schedules expected for following days.

Keep up to date with reports at the following sites:

* The National Weather Service is here

* The Weather Channel updates are here

* Slate‘s Blizzard Blog by Eric Holthaus is here

* The Guardian‘s live blog is here

* The Boston Globe resources and blog are here

* The New York Times updates and interactive snowfall graphics are here

And here’s a handy snow measurement guide from the BBC:


(image: BBC US)

* WORLD * The US closed its embassy in Yemen on Monday “as a precaution” but said there were no plans to evacuate embassy staff amid continuing turmoil in the capital Sanaa.

President Obama will meet the new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh on Tuesday, after the President cut short a trip to India, which ended with ended with a pledge of $4bn in investments and loans.

The Argentinian government moved to dissolve its domestic intelligence agency in the wake of the death of public prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

* POLITICS * Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was hospitalized on Monday after being taken ill at an event in Johnston, Iowa. He was described as” alert and resting comfortably” after suffering “flu-like symptoms.”

Advocacy groups controlled by the Koch brothers are expected to spend almost $1bn in the 2016 election cycle – a figure approximately equal to the expected spending by both major parties. The Washington Post reported that the number was announced to participants at the annual meeting of the Kochs’ donor network, Freedom Partners.

During that gathering Jon Karl of ABC News hosted a roundtable policy forum with GOP hopefuls Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

A small recreational drone that crashed on the White House grounds on Monday has highlighted the potential threats from such equipment – just four days after warnings of exactly that type of vulnerability.

* BUSINESS * The price of oil steadied after OPEC’s Secretary-General signaled that prices may have bottomed out.

* SPORTS * Tuesday is Super Bowl Media Day and far from reporters having to stretch out non-stories in the run-up to Sunday’s game, DeflateGate has provided a fount of debate and opinion and – despite some fans’ weariness – shows no sign of easing up.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he would expect an apology from the NFL after it was eventually proven that his team had broken no rules. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman also said he thought the Patriots wouldn’t be punished, but for a different reason.

Dave Zirin at The Nation has a thoughtful piece about Roger Goodell, Christopher Hitchens and former President Bill Clinton, writing:

It is understandable why people do not care about the Patriots ball-maintenance or whether public officials lie about their sex lives. But we should care about people in power who hector us about our own morality as an exercise in spin.

Incidentally, it was on January 26, 1998, that this happened.

Lance Armstrong told the BBC that he “would probably do it again.”

* MEDIA * Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted of leaking classified information about his work to  New York Times reporter James Risen.

* CULTURE * Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne are now officially co-writers of Sam Smith’s hit ‘Stay With Me’ after Smith acknowledged “similarities” with Petty’s 1989 hit ‘I Won’t Back Down’ and the two sides came to “an immediate and amicable agreement.”

Finally, world leaders will gather in Poland on Tuesday, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, for ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. One hundred survivors from 19 countries are expected to take part.

This aerial video by the BBC shows the camp as it is today.

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