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Reuters, Published January 22 2014

Bitter cold to linger as northeast U.S. digs out

NEW YORK - The northeastern United States on Wednesday dug out from a storm that dumped over a foot of snow in many places with frigid, windy weather keeping some schools and offices closed and flights canceled.

Wind gusts well over 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, combined with plunging temperatures predicted to last several days, promised to preserve the powdery, drifting snow, according to Weather.com.

Airports reported 1,556 canceled flights on Wednesday, with New York's LaGuardia airport scuttling 34 percent of its scheduled traffic, according to FlightAware.com.

Blizzard warnings remained in effect until Wednesday afternoon, and snow continued to fall during the morning rush hour on the New York suburbs of Long Island, where more than 13 inches of snow already covered the ground.

The Philadelphia school system shut down, as did many suburban schools throughout New Jersey, Rhode Island and other states.

Delaware's state offices stayed closed and a state of emergency remained in effect. Federal offices in Washington, D.C. reopened with a two-hour delay.

New York City pushed toward normalcy, opening schools and even zoos, but the snowstorm that dropped a record-breaking 11 inches of powder in Central Park reportedly touched off some complaints about unequal treatment by new Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Residents of Manhattan's Upper East Side, many of whom could be a target of de Blasio's plan to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-kindergarten, complained about plowing delays they saw as punishment by the mayor, according to The New York Post. The city said plowing was under way but was not being properly tracked online because of broken equipment, the newspaper reported.

Parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey had seen about 15 inches of snow, said Stephen Corfidi with the National Weather Service.

"The real story is going to be a persistent period of cold in the wake of this system," he said.

Temperatures in western Pennsylvania will dip below 0 Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius), and many other areas in the northeast will not see the mercury rise above 20 F (minus 7C), Corfidi said.

As New York City dug out on Wednesday morning, city officials said the massive public transportation system, including subways, commuter trains and buses, was operating mostly on a normal schedule to help people make the cold and messy commute to work.

Matthew Thomas, a web developer, said he was happy to have someone else shovel the snow at his high-rise apartment building in downtown Brooklyn.

"It is making it difficult to walk places," Thomas said.