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US air travel snarled as Chicago digs out, Boston snow piles up

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A storm that dropped record-setting snow on Chicago swept east across the US, grounding thousands of flights and bringing as much as another 30cm to Boston, which already had more than 61cm on the ground from a blizzard last week.

[BOSTON] A storm that dropped record-setting snow on Chicago swept east across the US, grounding thousands of flights and bringing as much as another 30cm to Boston, which already had more than 61cm on the ground from a blizzard last week.

In New York, the snow changed to rain, then back to snow, creating slushy and icy conditions for commuters.

"Most places around Boston are looking to around a foot," said Bruce Sullivan, a meteorologist at the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. "By Tuesday morning, there may be some lingering snow squalls in eastern Maine, but it's out of here pretty quick. Then just a cold shot will follow that, so we don't see anything melting."

Winter storm warnings stretched from eastern Ohio through Maine in the US and similar alerts, along with blizzard and blowing snow warnings, were in place from southern Ontario to Newfoundland in Canada, according to national weather agencies in both countries.

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Across the US, 4,007 flights were canceled as of 4.41pm New York time, with the most at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, according to FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company. Yesterday, 2,566 trips were scrubbed, with Chicago being the hardest-hit.

A daily record of 41.1cm fell at O'Hare on Sunday, breaking the mark set in 2011, the National Weather Service said. Schools closed Monday in Chicago, Boston, Cleveland and Detroit and Boston decided to keep children home Tuesday as well.

CHICAGO OUTLOOK

As of early Monday, the snow had mostly ended in Chicago, except for some lake-effect squalls that may linger through the day, Mr Sullivan said by telephone. Temperatures dropped to -12 c deg.

New York's LaGuardia Airport had received 13.2cm as of 3pm, according to the prediction center. Boston had 25.1cm by 2 pm and Cleveland, which got 18.2cm on Sunday, may pick up another 2.5cm before the storm winds down from west to east, the weather service said. The Toronto area may get 10 to 14 inches before it is over, Environment Canada said.

Mr Sullivan said the centre of the storm was moving across Pennsylvania, while a secondary system was developing off the coast of New Jersey, pulling cold air behind it. That will keep colder air over much of New England, ensuring most places don't get a changeover to rain.

While snow may persist across northern New Jersey, rain in New York is forecast to change to sleet and freezing rain in the afternoon before the storm ends, the weather service said.

As New Yorkers head home from work there could be a coating of ice and slush on roads, the weather service said.

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