By Nathan Layne
(Reuters) - People across the U.S. Northeast on Tuesday were digging themselves out from a massive storm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on the region as airlines resumed flights and officials expressed relief the damage had not been worse.
At least three people died due to the storm, which packed high winds and dropped about 30 inches (76 cm) of snow in parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and up to 1-1/2 feet (46 cm) in New York City. Thousands of households lost power and COVID-19 vaccination programs were suspended in several states.
But by Tuesday afternoon officials appeared relieved that the level of damage and destruction had not been as bad as it might have been. In New Jersey, only about 5,000 people lost power statewide, a development attributed to the fluffiness of the snow and effective preparations. Most commuter train and subway lines in and around New York, the nation's most populous city, were up and running on Tuesday, albeit some on reduced schedules.
"This is one the most extensive snow events in the history of New York City, so our crews had an incredible job in front of them," Patrick Foye, chairman of New York state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, told a news conference.
The nor’easter - an East Coast storm whose winds blow from the northeast - had been expected to keep dumping snow in some areas north of New York City, with an area stretching to northern Maine being hit the hardest, the National Weather Service said in its latest forecast on Tuesday. Snow could also develop in the Upper Midwest on Wednesday before the storm runs its course, it said.
Officials said they were now bracing for potentially another big storm this weekend.
"More storms coming, but that is the period of life that we are in. We are in a period of storms, and attacks and assaults," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, referring to the country's battle with the coronavirus pandemic.
In Allentown, Pennsylvania, a 67-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease was found lying dead in the snow on Monday after wandering away from her home, police said.
A man in Newark, New Jersey, died after being found lying in the snow on Monday, according to police officials, who said the death was not considered suspicious.
Michael Kopy, New York state's director of Emergency Management, said the state police handled more than 300 accidents during the storm, including a fatal snowmobile accident. And while it had stopped snowing around New York City, the northeastern tip of the state could see up to another foot (30 cm) of snowfall into early Wednesday, Kopy said.
The city's LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport began to resume flights after canceling more than 700 on Monday and earlier on Tuesday.
The storm also prompted widespread closings of schools and COVID-19 vaccination sites. In Connecticut, about 10,000 vaccination appointments were canceled on Monday, with plans to reschedule them for later this week.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne and Maria Caspani; additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Jonathan Oatis)