Blanket driving bans were lifted and limited New York public transport was to reopen Tuesday after a night of snowfall that dumped up to two feet (60 centimeters) in some areas.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said a travel ban would be lifted at 8:00 am (1300 GMT) and that limited service on the New York city rail and subway lines would begin at 9:00 am.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also announced that the travel ban in the state was lifting, but officials still warned against all but essential travel.
“The roads are still dangerous and they are passable but there’s a level of ice under the snow in many areas and if you don’t have to travel today, you really don’t want to,” Cuomo said.
“I would expect delays, even with the plows and the salting, the roads are not clear so we don’t want to give people a false sense of security,” he added.
By noon, subway and rail services would run at a limited Sunday service, around 50 percent of normal weekday operations, and back to normal on Wednesday, chairman Thomas Prendergast said.
Snowfall varied throughout the New York area, with some parts of the city receiving as little as four (10 centimeters) to six inches, and LaGuardia airport 11.5 inches, Cuomo said.
Long Island is still being hard hit with 16 inches and its eastern tip Suffolk County continues to see blizzard-like conditions and face “serious issues,” Cuomo said.
Flight disruptions are still extensive. More than 5,000 flights within, to and from the United States are cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to flightaware.com.
Officials launched a vigorous defense of the blanket travel bans and rail closures, saying it had been prudent to protect lives, protect equipment and get services back to normal more quickly.
“You plan the best you can and you lead toward safety,” Cuomo said, adding that he had no estimates for loss of business.
“It may actually have brought us back to full operating capacity sooner but I do not criticize weather forecasters. I learn.”