Although predictions of a “historic blizzard” turned out to be a wild overreaction in New York, six US states this week declared a state of emergency due to extreme weather conditions.
New York City and Boston effectively shut down in advance of a feared battering by Winter Storm Juno, which hit the north-eastern US seaboard.
Flying and driving bans were in place for the two cities and the subway systems were suspended on Tuesday (27 January), when over 7,000 flights were cancelled out of East Coast airports.
Predictions of 90cm of snowfall were well wide of the mark, but 20cms were enough to shut down some events in New York.
Barry Richards who runs the Grass Roots Meetings and Events office in the Big Apple, told CN: “We have several programmes in New York that have been cancelled one of which was a three-day annual global sales conference for 250 attendees flying in from around the globe. We will negotiate the re-booking of this event. Several smaller programmes in Boston have cancelled.
“Boston and Cape Cod has been hit harder than New York City. It will take several days for transport to be repatriated however this is a pretty annual occurrence for the east coast and everyone takes the necessary precautions.”
Event technology specialist DoubleDutch’s chief customer officer Annie Tsai told CN it had kept in close touch with its East Coast customers but had yet to record any event cancellations due to inclement weather. “We are monitoring the situation and hope the storm will pass over without causing damage or harm,” she said.
Convention bureau NYC & Company said there were no major conventions in the city on the 27 and 28 January and anyone travelling to New York should refer to www1.nyc.gov/site/severeweather/index.page for regular updates of the situation.
In Connecticut, governor Dannel Malloy had issued a travel ban for the entire state effective at 9pm Tuesday evening.
New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a travel ban for in 13 counties, including New York City and Long Island. Ignoring the ban meant possibly incurring a US$300 fine.
Up to 60m people, it has been estimated, were affected by the precautionary shutdowns.
Some New Yorkers said the weather warnings had been whipped up to boost sales at supermarkets, with people stocking up on emergency supplies.
City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted the ‘blizzard’ was more of a storm and claimed it was better to be safe than sorry.
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