Winter Storm Stella lashed the northeastern United States with sleet and snow on March 14, cancelling thousands of flights, closing schools and shutting stores, knocking out electricity to 200,000 customers but New York and Washington escaped the worst of the weather.
Blizzard warnings were issued in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts and upstate New York - with some areas near the New York state capital of Albany forecast to get up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of snow overnight into the following day.
But warnings were lifted for New York City, the U.S. financial capital home to 8.4 million residents, where snow turned to sleet and hail.
Dire forecasts forced the postponement of the first meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel
in Washington until March 17, but in the end, snowfall in the U.S. capital was light.
The National Weather Service (NWS) drastically revised down New York City’s expected accumulation with 7.2 inches recorded in Central Park, and 10-13 inches in parts of neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.
Instead the trajectory of the storm shifted west and north, bringing heavy snow and strong winds to central parts of New York state and further north.
“The storm is not delivering as much snow as forecasted at all and that is very good for the people of New York City, but the conditions are still very dangerous,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.
Temperatures were set to dip below freezing overnight, making roads and sidewalks treacherous, and a city-wide state of emergency would remain in place until midnight on March 15.
While the New York subway and bus services were operating, much of the city remained quiet with schools, shops and businesses largely closed as workers shoveled snow.
New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports and Newark Liberty International Airport were largely shut, with the majority of flights cancelled, and trains heading north towards Boston were also suspended.