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Learning English - Words in the News
13 February, 2006 - Published 15:42 GMT
Snowstorm hits US
New York in the snow
New York in the snow

A record-breaking snowstorm has brought chaos to much of the north-eastern United States. Much of the region now lies covered in some two feet or more of snow and transport systems are at a standstill. Thousands of homes are without electrical power. Jeremy Cooke reports.

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The United States National Weather Service says that this huge winter storm has dumped some 68.3 centimetres of snow in Central Park, making it the worst blizzard to hit New York City since records began in 1869.

To add to the problems facing the entire north-eastern seaboard, winds across the region have been gusting at up to 96 kilometres an hour, causing serious localised drifting. The road network in many places then is impassable. Most of the airports in the region have been closed, with hundreds of flights cancelled. Passengers on transatlantic flights heading into New York have, in some cases, found themselves diverted to alternative destinations.

Here in Manhattan, snowploughs worked non-stop on Sunday in an effort to keep streets and avenues open to traffic. But much of the city was eerily quiet. Even the notoriously busy Times Square was all but deserted for much of the day. Some who did venture out into the snow were rewarded with the memorable sight of people making their way down Broadway on skis.

Jeremy Cooke, BBC News, New York

Listen to the words


the entire north-eastern seaboard
the whole of the coast in the north-east of the country

blowing strongly

localised drifting
large piles of snow created in some areas by strong winds

impossible to use

diverted to alternative destinations
sent to places which they weren't originally meant to go to

machines used to clear snow from roads and paths

eerily quiet
quiet in an unsettling, disturbing way

all but deserted
nearly empty

venture out
risk going out

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