Blizzard cleanup keeps parts of Northeast shut down

Updated 8:01 AM EST, Tue January 26, 2016
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA  - JANUARY 24:  Beatrice Evangeline, 3,  walks through a narrow shoveled path on January 24, 2016  in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Millions of people are digging themselves out after a record snow storm affected most of the Mid Atlantic States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 24: Beatrice Evangeline, 3, walks through a narrow shoveled path on January 24, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Millions of people are digging themselves out after a record snow storm affected most of the Mid Atlantic States. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
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Story highlights

NEW: Number of storm-related deaths rises to at least 37, authorities say

Federal offices in the Washington area remain closed

"There's no way to keep up with it," truck driver says about clearing snow

(CNN) —  

Dave Schneider shook his head as he surveyed the scene around him.

Inside a stadium parking lot, there were mountains of snow piled high as far as the eye could see.

“It’s a horror show,” the dump truck driver said. “It’s just, there’s no way to keep up with it right now.”

Days after a blizzard clobbered the East Coast, officials across the region were still dealing with a difficult problem: where to put all the snow.

In Washington, truckloads of snow came rumbling into the parking lot of RFK Stadium, where city officials said they planned to bring a machine that can melt 60 tons of snow an hour.

Authorities there and in New York, where a travel ban was lifted Sunday, asked people to remain off the roads whenever possible to give crews space to clear side streets and other locations still packed with snow.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a travel advisory, warning that black ice could cause dangerously slick driving conditions as temperatures drop at night.

Virginia State Police sent out a similar message, noting the agency had responded to more than 1,500 traffic crashes since Friday.

Death toll climbs

The blizzard began pummeling the region on Friday. It blanketed cities with massive amounts of snow, caused devastating flooding and snarled traffic.

At least 37 people died as a result of the storm: 10 in New York, six in North Carolina, six in Virginia, four in South Carolina, three in Pennsylvania, three in New Jersey and one each in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Delaware and Washington.

Official tallies of deaths during the storm were higher, but CNN has not been able to confirm individual reports, and it was unclear if all of the reported fatalities were weather-related.

Many of the deaths were the result of snow shoveling.

Authorities warned residents about trying to shovel out, saying the stress of such exertion could bring on heart attacks.

“Some of our guys out there, they want to be Superman,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. “But they don’t have to be. They can be Superman 30 minutes at a time.”

Snow totals throughout the region.
Snow totals throughout the region.

In Pennsylvania, a 56-year-old man died of carbon monoxide poisoning after a snowplow buried his car, an 80-year-old man died while shoveling snow and a pregnant 18-year-old died after collapsing while shoveling snow, officials said.

In Passaic, New Jersey, a mother and son died inside a car, trying to stay warm while the father shoveled snow outside, police said. The car’s exhaust pipe was blocked with snow, police said, causing carbon monoxide to enter the vehicle. A daughter who was also in the car was in critical condition.

In Mahwah, New Jersey, police said a group of students who got off a school bus Monday afternoon discovered the body of a neighbor almost covered by snow. The 64-year-old woman was found with a snow shovel, and investigators believe she suffered a medical emergency and collapsed during the blizzard.

For some, ‘a good time’

The calendar may have said Monday, but for lots of people along the East Coast, it was another snow day instead.

Among those taking the day off while street crews, plow drivers and enterprising teens clean up the mess left behind by the weekend blizzard: federal workers in the nation’s capital, state employees in Maryland and Virginia, plenty of private-sector employees, and schoolchildren all over the region.

“People are out having snowball fights, having a good time,” Rawlings-Blake said.

But it wasn’t all fun and games, of course.

Transit workers in New York struggled to get the Long Island Rail Road back into operation, restoring service for about 80% of riders by Monday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN.

De Blasio said the blizzard will almost certainly rank among his city’s “top five snowstorms” in recorded history in terms of snow accumulation.

“Things are not entirely normal today, but a lot of the city is operating well,” de Blasio said Monday, thanking city employees for their hard work.

In Washington, where recovery didn’t seem quite as far along, Mayor Muriel Bowser warned residents of “several days of cleanup ahead of us.”

“Know that we’re going to be dealing with snow all of this week,” she said.

Still, she said, the city was bouncing back. Schools are set to reopen Wednesday, she said, and city offices will reopen Tuesday.

Federal government offices in the area remain closed.

All but one of the city’s Metrorail lines will be open for service on Tuesday, officials said, and Washington’s airports were slowly returning to life with limited flight schedules.

Airlines canceled more than 1,800 flights Monday, less than half Sunday’s total, but enough to cause plenty of headaches.

One passenger at Reagan National Airport in Washington was hoping to get home Monday after eight cancellations. Others remained stuck in limbo.

CNN’s Brian Todd reported from Washington. CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet and Michael Pearson wrote the story in Atlanta. CNN’s Emily Smith, Joseph Netto, Sheena Jones, Dave Hennen, Sean Morris, Dave Alsup, Lindy Royce, Pilar Melendez, Rob Frehse and Nick Valencia contributed to this report.