US Northeast digs out from deadly blizzard

The northeast of the United States crawled out Sunday from under a monster blizzard that caused at least nine deaths and paralyzed the region with high winds and vast drifts of snow.

Nearly 300,000 customers were still without power in the wake of the storm that struck a slew of states and dumped as much as three feet of snow across New England before battering three Canadian provinces.

The majority of the service disruptions were in hard-hit Massachusetts, where utility companies said outages were at around 230,000, down from 400,000 Saturday.

As crews worked to clear roads and sidewalks, travel conditions in the area began to pick up and return to normal.

New York area airports LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy and Newark, which halted all flights at the height of the storm, resumed service Saturday with some delays.

Boston's Logan International Airport meanwhile warned travelers Sunday it was still experiencing some weather-related delays and cancellations., which on Saturday listed almost 2,000 cancellations in the area, said 89 flights were scrapped at Logan, 13 at JFK, two each at LaGuardia and Newark and 13 at Canada's Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

Rail company Amtrak announced it was restoring limited service between New York and Boston as it continued to clear its tracks of deep snow and downed trees, and make the necessary repairs to restore full train service.

To facilitate the cleanup efforts, President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for the state of Connecticut Sunday, where Governor Dannel Malloy said it appeared that most, if not all counties had been hit with record or near record snowfall.

"This declaration will provide much needed assistance to the state and our towns and cities as we continue to recover from this historic winter storm," Malloy said.

Some 7,600 customers remained without power in the state as of Sunday evening, according to Connecticut Light & Power.

As a thousand people in Massachusetts sought relief in shelters, Governor Deval Patrick said a major challenge, aside from cleaning up and restoring power, was making sure public transportation was back up and running by Monday.

"We're trying to make sure that public transit is fully functioning in time for tomorrow's commute," he told broadcaster CBS.

Schools in Boston were to remain closed Monday, and Malloy said non-essential state employees should not report to work.

"I understand that everyone wants to get back to normal as quickly as possible," Malloy said. "But the last thing we need at this point is a typical morning rush hour commute."

The National Grid power company said it was warning some of its customers in the southeast of Massachusetts that they may not have electricity restored before Tuesday.

Just over 52,000 customers remained without power in much smaller Rhode Island.

"We took a very major blow, but the state's responding very well," said Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed.

The storm also took a human toll.

An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy died when he and his father were warming up in their car and inhaled carbon monoxide after an exhaust pipe had been blocked by snow.

A car driven by a young woman went out of control in the snow on a highway in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, striking and killing a 74-year-old man who was walking on the shoulder of the road.

And in Auburn, New Hampshire, a man was killed after losing control of his car and hitting a tree, local officials said.

Malloy was quoted by local media as saying there were five storm-related deaths in Connecticut and, according to reports, a fatal crash in Maine claimed another life.

Minor injuries were reported in a 19-car pileup on Interstate 295 in Falmouth, Maine, caused by poor visibility and slippery road conditions.

The storm came a little over three months after Hurricane Sandy devastated swaths of New York and New Jersey, killing 132 people and causing damage worth some $71.4 billion.

As the East Coast slowly dug out, the National Weather Service warned of a new blizzard taking aim at the northern plains.

"A blizzard will continue across the north central US, where heavy snow will combine with strong gusty winds to produce dangerous whiteout conditions," it said.