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NEW: An official reports three suspected weather-related deaths in Pennsylvania
The blizzard warnings are expiring, but more cold is on the way
Some areas saw up to 18-inch snowdrifts
More than 1,400 flights were canceled Wednesday
Dangerous cold and treacherous driving conditions left millions of Americans along the Eastern Seaboard stuck at home Wednesday.
And, try as we might, we couldn’t get any glimmers of hope from the CNN weather department’s forecast for what’s ahead.
The storm system that dumped record-breaking piles of snow – including 18-inch snowdrifts in Plymouth, Massachusetts – is moving off the coast, and remaining blizzard warnings are expiring. But the freezing weather is going to stick around.
“Another clipper will reinforce the cold air already in place, so any snow on the ground is expected to hang around,” CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons said.
And “more surges of cold Arctic air are on tap for next week,” added CNN meteorologist Sean Morris. “New York stays well below freezing for the foreseeable future – possibly holding until the end of the month, though there’s a chance they could briefly rise above 32 degrees Saturday afternoon. Washington, D.C., isn’t expected to rise above freezing until Saturday afternoon, when it will be a balmy 37 degrees. But there’s more cold and snow on the way early next week.”
Meanwhile, in California, some cities are tying records – for heat. Paso Robles reached 75 degrees Tuesday, while Camarillo reached 84.
But through the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast, temperatures were 15 to 25 degrees below average Wednesday.
Washington’s Dulles International Airport recorded about 8 inches of snow Tuesday. New York’s Central Park saw 11 inches. Bridgeport, Connecticut, had 6½.
Governors in Delaware, New Jersey and New York issued states of emergency.
This blizzard did not follow a typical pattern, Petersons said. The heaviest snowfall was closer to the coast rather than inland, even though the system was moving from west to east. The storm system strengthened off the coast, picking up moisture from the Atlantic to bump up the snowfall.
Staying home and heading out
Rich Schultz, a father of three in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, told CNN he was spending the day cooking and planning meals for the week, including shepherd’s pie and tomato, corn and basil soup.
Others have been venturing out, with potentially deadly consequences.
Three people have died in Pennsylvania in what appear to be weather-related incidents, according to Dana Todd of the Delaware County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“Evidence would suggest that weather was a factor, but autopsies have not been performed yet,” she said.
The deaths include two men – ages 67 and 87 – who were out shoveling, and a 92-year-old woman who had wandered outside her home, Todd said.
Nature photographer Candice Trimble spent Tuesday catching and photographing snowflakes up close in Front Royal, Virginia, she said in a CNN iReport.
It was a time for play for some in Philadelphia. With about a foot of snow falling on the city, the steps at the Museum of Art became a sledding hill.
On Facebook, dozens of people told CNN about the silver linings they’ve been finding in the storm. It “makes you very grateful” for the “wealth you have” in taking care of “basic human needs,” Sue Skoo wrote.
“Beer stays cold without refrigeration,” Dan Evans added.
Out West, at least one Utah resident didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
“A storm brings 10” of snow to Utah and we throw a party,” Drew Stoddard, who lives south of Salt Lake City, posted on Twitter. “It happens in New York and they declare a state of emergency.”
Around the Northeast, some schools and offices were closed, and some roads were shut down.
More than 1,400 flights were canceled, according to FlightAware.com.
At New York’s LaGuardia Airport, weary travelers spent a restless and sleep-deprived night on airport chairs and cold floors. Flight cancellations put hotel rooms in short supply.
Susan Otterstrom found out Tuesday that she had two more days in the Big Apple, instead of returning to Illinois.
“I got a call that (my flight) was canceled, and I couldn’t reschedule until Thursday,” she told CNN affiliate WPIX.
Another traveler said she was resigned to living the concourse life until she could catch a flight out.
“I’m just going to stay here and work and doze and whatever,” she said. “You do what you have to do.”
Amtrak was running a modified schedule on the Northeast Corridor, saying passengers should expect some delays and fewer trains between Washington and Boston.
“Nobody was outside on the streets and no cars were driving,” New York City resident Jodi Kaplan said. “Everyone and everything was so quiet. It was as if NYC welcomed this weather and the chance to stop. And be frozen.”
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CNN’s Steve Almasy, Rose Arce, Margaret Conley, Kevin Conlon, Suzanne Presto and Leigh Remizowski contributed to this report.