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Northeast digs out from latest snowstorm

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • In NYC's Central Park, 19 inches of snowfall beat a day record set in 1925
  • Forecasters say Newark reached 19 inches of snow while Philadelphia totaled 15 inches
  • Subway passengers commandeered train to stay warm

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New York (CNN) -- A winter-weary Northeast was getting back to normal early Friday after a powerful storm dumped a thick blanket of snow throughout the region.

Buses were back in service in New York City early Friday after being suspended Wednesday and Thursday. City schools were also expected to reopen after classes were canceled Thursday.

But in Philadelphia, students were getting another day off as school officials announced that inclement weather had caused school closures again.

The major snowstorm Wednesday pelted much of the Northeast, grounding flights, closing government buildings and airports before tapering off Thursday.

It stretched from the southern Appalachian Mountains to coastal Massachusetts, the latest in a slew of wintry weather that continues to blanket much of the region.

The storm caused major problems in some areas and posted record snowfall numbers across the region, according to the National Weather Service.

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In New York's Central Park, 19 inches of snow fell overnight into Thursday, beating a single-day record set in 1925, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Forecasters said Newark, New Jersey, reached 19 inches of snow, while Philadelphia totaled 15 inches.

Hundreds of flights were canceled as airports tried to deal with the onslaught of snow.

In New York, people tried many ways to stay warm during the storm. Subway passengers who were stranded on Coney Island refused to get off of a train Thursday because they had no other way to stay warm, riders said.

The passengers stayed in a "sweeper" train, which was supposed to clear tracks and make sure no passengers or trains were stuck between stations, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

Transportation authority employees tried to get them off the N Train at the Coney Island terminal, a passenger said.

"I said, 'I have no where to go, I'm not leaving,'" passenger Eva Mahoney told CNN affiliate NY1. "There's no way I'm gonna get home because I remember the (December) blizzard."

Many of the passengers slept or just waited for a few hours until they could catch a train around 6 a.m., she said.

The drama began when the riders left Manhattan for Brooklyn, NY1 reported. They were told to get off and take the train to Coney Island. When they arrived, there was no bus service and they decided to stay on the sweeper train.

Transportation authority spokesman Kevin Ortiz said that the agency has implemented measures to ensure the safety of passengers and facilitate a quick return to service. He said the transportation authority shut down service to avoid stranding passengers.

"In the case of the N Train, we were able to safely park the train at its Coney Island terminal as planned," Ortiz said in a statement.

"The agency could have done a better job communicating with customers " on the need to dispatch one of the trains as a nonpassenger sweeper train to clear tracks, and making them comfortable in the terminal until service was restored," he said.