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Historic Winter Storm Makes History

That huge snowstorm that tied up travel all over the country earlier this week has finally moved on. Cities and towns from Virginia to Massachussetts have been digging out from the worst winter storm in seven years.

Blizzard-like conditions blanketed the region with 60 or more centimeters of snow through Monday, slowing transportation and shutting down businesses all across the Eastern United States. VOA-TV’S George Dwyer has our report.

Rural areas such as this one in Maryland had the most snow with 1.2 meters, but the impact there pales in comparison to downtown Manhattan, where half as much snow caused far more disruption.

The big problem was what to do with all that snow. These machines guzzle 60 tons an hour, flushing it down the sewers. But New York has only 10 of them.

In Boston they got almost 70 centimeters. And a massive cleanup bill.

"There is no budget. We went through the budget two storms ago. And this storm costs us 68-thousand dollars an hour."

Seven states including New York had to declare emergencies. They will almost certainly seek aid from the federal government for up to 75 percent of their costs.

But retailers across the northeast have no one to turn to and they have lost tens of millions of dollars this weekend.

"They may not be able to make up what they lost over the President's Day weekend."

Monday was a federal holiday in the United States – Presidents Day, honoring the memory of George Washington, the first U.S. president, and Abraham Lincoln, who led the nation through the U.S. Civil War almost 150 years ago.

Government offices and banks were closed, but the storm had a powerful effect on business and travel services that were due to operate. Airline operations were disrupted throughout the eastern United States, and train service was halted in many areas.

In Washington DC, the government shut down on Tuesday. It cost 130-million dollars a day when the government shut down in 1995. So far, it has been impossible to get an estimate of how much this shutdown will cost because the government accountants couldn’t get to work either.