A blizzard pummeled the northeastern United States on Monday, dumping up to 29 inches (74 cm) of snow, disrupting air, rail and bus travel and forcing motorists to deal with blowing snow and icy roads at the end of the busy Christmas weekend.

New York City, eastern New Jersey and western Long Island were the hardest hit by the storm, which blew up the Atlantic Coast on Sunday night and continued up to the Monday morning commute, unleashing powerful winds and grounding cities to a halt.

Trade on the New York Stock Exchange was expected to take place as normal. "Everything is business as usual," an NYSE spokeswoman said.

New York's three major airports were shut overnight after at least 2,000 flights were canceled on Sunday, and not due to reopen until 4 p.m. (2100 GMT).

Thousands were stranded in the airports. At Philadelphia International Airport, some 1,200 stuck passengers were given pillows, blankets, water, juice and diapers from the airport's assistance program, a spokeswoman said.

One New York subway train was stuck on a frozen track for seven hours before being rescued. Amtrak passenger rail service between New York and Boston was suspended on Sunday night but resumed with a limited schedule on Monday morning.

Snow fell on New York's Central Park for 17 hours and the blizzard could become just the sixth storm in history to leave 20 inches (50 cm), NY1 television said.

Snow drifts dropped 3 to 5 feet (90 to 150 cm) on north-facing structures thanks to winds of up to 49 mph (79 kph), NY1 said.

Major airlines including Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), American Airlines (AMR.N), JetBlue Airways (JBLU.O), Continental Airlines and United Airlines all canceled large numbers of flights. Delta canceled 850 flights on Sunday, about one-sixth of its total.


The storm, the first widespread blizzard of the season, hit as Americans were returning to work after one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

The National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings from Maine to New Jersey and winter storm warnings for nearly the entire East Coast.

Six states declared a state of emergency.

After the southern United States was hit with a rare "White Christmas" on Saturday, the snowstorm plowed to the northeast, where the major coastal cities were engulfed in blowing snow.

The blizzard had been predicted, allowing cities time to crank out the salt and snow plows. Some 2,400 New York City sanitation workers were called in to clear snow from the streets.

Shoppers had a chance to stock up on milk, bread, firewood as well as snow shovels and ice melting products.

In a sign of the severity of the storm, an NFL football game scheduled on Sunday in Philadelphia was postponed, forcing the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings to reschedule the contest for Tuesday.

The move sparked criticism, especially as the sport loves to glorify games in snow.

"It's an absolute joke," Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a big Eagles fan, told Fox News. "I was looking forward to this. It would have been a real experience. This is what football is all about."

"We're becoming a nation of wussies," Rendell said.

(Additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz, Chris Michaud, Ros Krasny, Jon Hurdle and Paul Simao; editing by Vicki Allen and Mohammad Zargham)