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Massive blizzard causes travel chaos

Millions of Christmas travellers were caught in the wintry grip of a massive blizzard that brought snow-related chaos to air, road and train transit across the eastern United States.

world Updated: Dec 27, 2010 11:02 IST

Millions of Christmas travellers were caught in the wintry grip of a massive blizzard that brought snow-related chaos to air, road and train transit across the eastern United States.

Just as passengers trapped by freezing weather in Europe began returning home as flights resumed normal service on Christmas Day, it was the turn of US travelers to face relentless snow, dangerous winds and unforgiving cold.

The inclement weather could not come at a worse time for millions of Americans who travel to see family or take holiday getaways during the Christmas week.

It was also compounding the misery for some flyers in Europe, where carriers including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic cancelled several US-bound flights on Sunday and were bracing passengers for further disruptions Monday.

The US railway service Amtrak said it was halting service between New York and Boston, and in the process stranded thousands of travelers during one of the heaviest travel seasons of the year.

"Due to the blizzard conditions affecting a good portion of the east coast, and presently affecting the New York and New England areas, Amtrak has canceled (train service) between Boston and New York tonight, December 26th, with no alternate transportation," the rail carrier said, adding that it regretted the inconvenience to those who would be put out by the cancellations.

Meanwhile, the storm caused more than 1,000 flight cancellations yesterday, compounding the national travel chaos.

After record snowfalls last year, Washington and environs appeared likely to escape the worst weather this time around, with just a trace of snowfall expected.

But blizzard warnings were issued from coastal New England to New York City, where the massive storm was expected to dump as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of snow, accompanied by powerful wind gusts.