Major Snowstorm Hits U.S. Northeast

Residents in the northeastern United States are digging out their homes and vehicles after the first major snowstorm of 2014 created havoc in the region.

Officials say at least 11 deaths are blamed on the storm which swept across much of the nation's eastern half.

While the snowfall has mostly ended, dangerously cold temperatures remain. Wind chill temperatures across a wide swath of the northeast have plummeted to around minus 20 degrees Celsius, prompting the National Weather Service to warn of the risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

Children make a snow pile in Times Square, during a snowstorm on Jan. 2, 2014 in New York. /AP Children make a snow pile in Times Square, during a snowstorm on Jan. 2, 2014 in New York. /AP

The upper Midwest also remains in a deep freeze, with temperatures as low as minus 41 degrees Celsius settling over much of the region.

The storm forced the cancellation of thousands of flights Thursday and Friday and prompted the governors of New York and New Jersey to declare states of emergency.

Boston was hit the hardest by the snow, with up to 35 centimeters, while towns to the north got almost double that amount.  

The storm represented the first big test for New York City's newly-elected mayor, Bill de Blasio, who dispatched hundreds of plows and salt spreaders to the streets of the nation's largest city.

VOA News / Jan. 04, 2014 09:00 KST