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Flights resuming after US storms

Stranded passengers turned airports into open-air hotels as they waited for planes to get moving again in the wake of a blizzard that hit travel plans in the north-east of the United States.

Air travel in the nation's busiest, most crowded airspace nearly shut down completely after the storm struck, with more than 2ft of snow falling during the holiday weekend.

Among the chaos caused by the weather, a tractor-trailer skidded off a road and smashed into a house in Maine, while a pregnant woman went into labour on a New Jersey highway, causing a traffic jam that stranded 30 vehicles.

Rails on the normally reliable New York subway shorted out, as winds gusting at more than 65mph ripped power lines, leaving tens of thousands of people in the dark across New England.

Flights slowly resumed at the airports, although experts said it would likely take several more days to rebook all the displaced passengers. Two of New York's major airports - LaGuardia and John F Kennedy International - began to receive inbound flights on Monday night. Meanwhile, Newark began receiving inbound flights this morning, although nearly 1,500 total flights were cancelled at all three airports.

In New York, outer-borough residents complained of a sluggish response by snow plough crews who still had not finished clearing the streets.

State Senator Carl Kruger, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn, called the city's response a "colossal failure."

Fire officials said the unploughed streets and abandoned cars made it harder to respond to emergencies, including a blaze at a Queens apartment building on Monday night.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city's clean-up effort, saying the crews were being slowed down by abandoned cars on the streets.

"There's no reason for everybody to panic," he said. "Our city is doing exactly what you'd want it to do."

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From Belfast Telegraph