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Deadly winter storm dubbed ‘Snochi’ wreaks havoc for the East Coast

February 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM EST
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Winter bore down on the Northeastern U.S. again today, walloping everything from Washington, D.C., to Boston, after leaving a treacherous mess across the South. The latest big storm barreled up the East Coast as it was being blamed for the deaths of at least 20 people.

One official in the Philadelphia area summed up the feelings of many, saying, “Snow has become a four-letter word.’

NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman has our report

KWAME HOLMAN: Snow, more snow, sleet, snow, freezing rain, and snow again, that was the sequence for the drubbing the South, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast endured in the last 24 hours. The huge system spread across hundreds of miles today and even earned a nickname, Snochi, drawing on the Russian city hosting the Winter Olympics.

The Washington, D.C., area got upwards of 11 inches of snow overnight. And, by this morning, winter sports enthusiasts were out in force. Federal offices were closed today, as were the runways at the city’s two main airports. The D.C., and suburban schools were shut down, adding to an accumulation of snow days here, as in many other places in the country.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio defended his decision to keep the schools open.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, D-N.Y.: So many families have to go to work. The members of these families have to go to work. They do not have a choice. And they need a safe option for their kids. So, so long as we know our kids can get to school safely and we know we can operate our schools effectively, we make that decision.

KWAME HOLMAN: The city itself got eight inches or more of the heavy, wet snow.

WOMAN: It’s ridiculous, but what are you going to do?  It’s Mother Nature.

(LAUGHTER)

WOMAN: You got to deal with it.

WOMAN: It’s crazy. I haven’t seen a winter like this in a really long time, or even maybe never.

(LAUGHTER)

MAN: I wish I wasn’t here.

KWAME HOLMAN: In Philadelphia, snow shovelers got plenty of work as the city broke a 130-year old record, surpassing four snowfalls of greater than six inches in one season.

MAN: I’m probably going to be here all day, from — probably 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon, probably, because we don’t even know what time it’s going to stop.

KWAME HOLMAN: All told, as this map shows, the sweep of the storm added to an already extensive snow cover from previous blasts this winter.

Meanwhile, Southern states were trying to recover from the blow they took yesterday. A deadly mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow was too much for drivers around Raleigh, North Carolina. Many simply got out of their cars and walked away.

Today, Governor Pat McCrory said the cars are not yet being towed, so that motorists can find them.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY, R-N.C.: The Highway Patrol on our interstate highways and our state roads are tagging abandoned vehicles to ensure that we have checked on them. And these vehicles are being left in place unless they are blocking the road.

KWAME HOLMAN: Ice from the storm caused at least 750,000 people to lose power across the South after trees crashed into lines under the weight.

WOMAN: Terrifying. Hearing the tree crack and watching it fall from window and landing on my daughter’s room is very traumatic.

KWAME HOLMAN: There was trouble, too, for air travelers all over the country, with more than 6,000 flights canceled. And it’s not over yet, as a second round of snow heads up the East Coast this evening.